Cord blood banking: public versus private banks--facts to ponder and consider
Archives de Pediatrie: Organe Officiel de la Societe Francaise de Pediatrie 12(3): 298-304
Since 1988, allogeneic cord blood transplantations have been used in the hematology and oncology area. Cord blood banks, either public or from non-profit corporations, opened in several countries. They organized themselves into a world-wide network permitting broad and quick graft availability all over the world. Cryopreservation modalities and biological safety were strongly defined according to laboratory good practices. More recently, in the United States, Canada and some European and Asian countries, commercial companies created for-profit cord blood banks. They offer families the possibility of privately storing the cord blood of their children. Then, if a child gets sick and needs a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, it is possible to use the cord blood for an autograft. These companies present this service, relatively expensive for the families, as a true biological insurance. Also, they capitalize on families' hopes that scientific progress will increase cord blood autografts and other stem cell medical applications. In this work, we review available scientific data, ethical considerations and laws that can contribute to an informed reflection.