Physicians Should Discuss Umbilical Cord Banking

February 1, 2008

Although public and private banks exist for the collection and storage of umbilical cord blood, physicians should discuss and provide relevant information to patients, according to a committee opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

FRIDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Although public and private banks exist for the collection and storage of umbilical cord blood, physicians should discuss and provide relevant information to patients, according to a committee opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The committee notes that public and private banks are available to collect and store umbilical cord blood. Public banks promote allogenic donation, similar to whole blood donation, while private banks support autologous donation. However, the likelihood of using an autologous unit of blood is 1 in 2,700 individuals at best, they note.

The committee recommends that patients should receive balanced and accurate information on umbilical cord banking, relevant issues should be discussed, physicians should consult their relevant state medical associations on relevant state laws, and directed donation should be considered in some cases.

"Obstetric providers are not obligated to obtain consent for private umbilical cord banking. The collection should not alter routine practice for the timing of umbilical cord clamping. Physicians or other professionals who recruit pregnant women and their families for for-profit umbilical cord blood banking should disclose any financial interests or other potential conflicts of interests," the committee writes.

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