Sunday 26 October 2014

Effects on health of collection is not known

THE Irish Stem Cell Foundation has warned that the growth of commercial cord blood banking encourages a culture of maternal guilt – women are made to feel they should have a costly procedure, which it believes, has few proven clinical benefits.

Dr Stephen Sullivan of the Foundation said recently there was no real evidence for routinely storing umbilical cord stem cells, adding that, in the vast majority of cases, the costs of storage were not justified and that the health of mothers and babies could be jeopardised during the collection process and there was insufficient evidence to recommend it in Ireland except in the case of a small number of families which had rare blood diseases or bone marrow failure.. He said it had been suggested that there was a future possibility of treating conditions such as Parkinson's disease and diabetes; this would depend on advances in cell culturing.

Parents should do their homework before paying money for such a service, he said in an interview, adding that the effects on health of some cord blood collection practices, such as the immediate clamping of the umbilical cord after birth, remained unknown, and he advised parents to consult a HSE-registered haematologist before investing in the procedure.

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