What Is It?

Quite simply, cord blood is blood which remains in the placenta, or afterbirth as well as in the severed umbilical cord of new born children.  In recent years, the use of cord blood in an array of medical procedures to prevent and cure disease, as well as treat other life threatening ailments has received much attention in the media and parenting help circles.

Most of this attention has been centered around the concept of the Cord Blood Bank, a type of repository for cord blood which allows patients to access new medical procedures in the regenerative medical field, via a donor match program, much like how organ transplants are carried out.  What then, is all the fuss?

The United States government has created legislation which allows for the creation of both public and private cord blood banks, which as their names would suggest, offers access to cord blood samples as a public program or as a privately funded banking system for individual families.  While the choice to contribute cord blood either privately or publicly is undertaken by the individuals involved, there are some ethical questions surrounding cord blood banking due to the emergence of private, for profit, cord blood banks.  Before looking at these issues, let's first discuss why cord blood is so important.

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