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Cord Blood Banking and the Childbearing Family

  • By: Nathan S. Fox
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Once considered a waste product that was discarded with the placenta after birth, umbilical cord blood is now known to contain stem cells that can be used in the treatment of many life-threatening illnesses. These stem cells can be given to patients undergoing treatment for some diseases of the blood and immune system and certain inherited metabolic diseases in order to reconstitute the bone marrow. Because of this, banking of cord blood has become an option for pregnant patients at the time of delivery. Public banking involves the donation of the cord blood, free of charge. The cord blood would then be available for anyone to use. The National Marrow Donor Program oversees the cord blood stored and provides a searchable database for physicians who ...

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