Umbilical cord blood banking


Hello. My wife and I are expecting our first child this March. I am wondering about the procedure where you harvest the umbilical cord stem cells for later use. This is of course different from harvesting a fetus for stem cells. My question is this something that is morally questionable? Also, do any of you have experience with this and is it something that you would recommend? Thanks for the answers. Catholic perspectives only please.


you have to contact a company that does that sort of thing because they have a special kit and the cord blood needs to collected in these special tubes right away. You also need to check with the hospital you plan on going to as well as discuss this with your OB dr who would be the one collecting it in the first place. I think after that there is a fee for the company to store the blood for you and I am not sure what that is. I’ve only known one person to try and do this and from what I remember her telling me is that it needs to be collected in a narrow window frame. There is no incidences of anyone going back to the cord blood and actually using stored cord blood and all of this is based on theory. I work in a blood bank. I think one of the issues that could come up is if the cord blood is needed to be tested for other things if there are problems with the baby such as the baby’s type etc.

Again, the best person to discus this with is your dr. I don’t think it is cheap and there are fees for storage afterwards which can add up. Don’t let some company sell you something that right now is all in theory and there haven’t been any real incidences of cord blood use later on.


It’s perfectly legitimate. The Church’s objection is to embryonic stem cells, which destroys a life, not stem cells in general. :thumbsup:


At last check…
$3000.00 for the collection and storage, another $300.00 per year to maintain it.

Awful expensive for something that may not be used at all.


Here’s a quick reference:

  1. With regard to the ethical evaluation, it is necessary to consider the methods of obtaining stem cells as well as the risks connected with their clinical and experimental use.
    In these methods, the origin of the stem cells must be taken into consideration. Methods which do not cause serious harm to the subject from whom the stem cells are taken are to be considered licit. This is generally the case when tissues are taken from: a) an adult organism; b) the blood of the umbilical cord at the time of birth; c) fetuses who have died of natural causes. The obtaining of stem cells from a living human embryo, on the other hand, invariably causes the death of the embryo and is consequently gravely illicit: “research, in such cases, irrespective of efficacious therapeutic results, is not truly at the service of humanity. In fact, this research advances through the suppression of human lives that are equal in dignity to the lives of other human individuals and to the lives of the researchers themselves. History itself has condemned such a science in the past and will condemn it in the future, not only because it lacks the light of God but also because it lacks humanity”

Instruction Dignitas Personae
on Certain Bioethical Questions

I’ve underlined the relevant part (but included the whole paragraph to keep things in context).

So YES, what you’re describing is morally acceptable (that’s what “are to be considered licit” means).


Wait, embryonic stem cells?! I never really understood until now what was the controversy on stem cell research, until I read your post. I mean… Jeez, can people have the guts to do that? :mad:


Alternatively (if the banking seems expensive, which it is) you can donate it, to be used by other sick children. But again you would have to speak with your OB, and with the hospital.

In fact the AAP does not recommend private cord blood banking.

But there is no moral problem with blood cord banking.



We donated the cord blood for our first child. We applied during pregnancy for a collection kit and it was sent to us to bring with us for delivery, and we wrote it in our birth plan so our midwife would know to collect it. We were considering doing it again for our second, but since we were planning an out-of-hospital birth we wouldn’t have been eligible to donate.

It’s also not possible to donate/collect cord blood if you want to delay clamping and cutting the cord after birth. There are some benefits to delaying clamping, so you may want to see if you’d rather your child just receive all of the blood first anyway. That’s what we ended up doing for our second and what we plan on for any additional children.


Unfortunately, yes - in fact, most of the problems in the last 15 years regarding stem cell research was all over embryonic stem cell research. The idea among many in the scientific community (and among many who had degenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and the like) was that, even though adult stem cells worked, they didn’t work well enough for their tastes.

The thought was, “Hey, adult stem cells, which are already partially differentiated, work okay in temporarily relieving symptoms, but we need a more permanent solution, because these people will eventually get their symptoms back. Why don’t we try embryonic stem cells? No one’s using these embryos anyway - they’re leftover ‘medical waste’ from attempts at IVF for infertile couples! Besides, their cells are completely indifferentiated, and so can work for anyone!” They used these embryos to try to research cures for diseases, and they lambasted anyone who was against embryonic stem cell research as being “against science”. Embryonic stem cells didn’t work though, regardless. It turned out that problems happened like (a) the cells growing like tumors or (b) complete rejection by the host person. Similar problems occured with attempts at triggering a response in skin cells that made them act like embryonic stem cells.

Eventually, after years of fighting, most researchers in embryonic stem cell research finally succumbed to the fact that - embryonic stem cells do not work, and adult stem cells do. Seriously - not only is adult stem cell research completely moral and embryonic stem cell research completely immoral, adult stem cells are also much more effective at curing diseases than embryonic stem cells.


That realistically is not possible. The collection process has to be done within a small window frame. Likewise, one would have to sign off on it. Thirdly, there would have to be extensive testing for a number of diseases and viruses just as any blood that is donated is. While it may be ok to use for one’s own use, it becomes very impractical as well as expensive for someone else. There have been some discussion about trying to harvest the stem cells from cord blood but the impracticality of it kinda prohibits it at this time.


Welcome to the brave new world where everybody uses sanitized code words to cover their crimes. It’s not killing babies, it’s a choice! It’s not genocide, it’s ethnic cleansing. It’s not murder, it’s death with dignity. We’re not creating new human beings to harvest their body parts, we’re conducting stem cell research!


Cord blood stem cells are not technically embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stems cells come from destroying a growing embryo. That is not the case here, Cord blood is from the umbilical cord between the mother and baby and is rich in stem cells. In every delivery a couple of tubes of it is collected in case of testing due to a number of issues that can develop after birth.


Cord blood is not the result of destroying any life. It is blood from the umbilical cord between the mother and the baby. It is very rich in stem cells Cord blood is collected for possible testing at every birth. The placenta is tossed and the cord blood is saved usually for a week and then tossed and is all other blood collected for testing in any lab. The window of saving the stem cells from the cord blood is a small window and the people that due this, there is a special collection kit to save the stem cells. It is expensive process and while this is all theory, I don’t believe there is yet anyone who has done this benefited from saving their babies’ cord blood stem cells.


I didn’t say they did. I was responding to the person I quoted, not to the OP directly. What I said IS true of “Embryonic stem cell research.” He expressed sudden realization of what that word really meant. You are correct that cord blood is a form of pluripotent adult stem cells. Thanks for clarifying.

As for the OP, it is IMO yet another money making scheme foisted on new parents not yet bankrupted by the baby exploitation industry. Perhaps there’s a remote chance it will do some good. Same goes for lottery tickets…


This is actually incorrect. There are major blood cord donation sites. Be the Match, even does it. They in fact do testing on blood cord (just like marrow donations), if the blood cord is not eligible for donation, it is usually given to a research facilities. Yes you would have to sign off on it, generally it is the patient who says they want to and get sent a collection kit, and the doctors collect it. The time frame is really not that big of deal either, as in a normal birth, they just clamp the cord and collect the blood after.

They in fact do not use your own cord blood if you get sick, but it is better for a sick sibling who would be likely a match. (But not always).

Here is recent article on the practice (it is expensive that is why MN did not have it for a while).


I do work in a blood bank and the cord blood is sometimes very needed for after birth testing. I am looking at from a practical stand point working in a blood bank and dealing with cord bloods all the time. But you did admit to the expense of it all and there is yet to be proven anyone actually helped out by their own cord blood donation. This is all in theory.


Umbilical cord blood banking is fine, from a moral standpoint. It has been shown to save the lives of children, especially in cases like the development of leukemia. I am not sure however, how long the cells can be saved.

I guess I would want to be sure that the cells could not be used for anyone or anything else other than the benefit of your own child. I have only heard of the use of these cells for the purpose of saving a child’s life.

For a better understanding of this process I suggest you discuss it with your wife’s doctor or even a geneticist who is clear on Catholic beliefs. It can’t hurt.


People do it all the time, donate it for others’ use, because, indeed it is not useful for self donation. Also the cord blood, actually the stem cells, seem to be better for children, as there is not enough for a full transplant for an adult, and, though the cord blood seems to be a broader match than bone marrow, and thus scientists have done some combined transplants for adults.


My kiddo is now 16, we donated when she was born, didn’t cost a thing, OB took care of kit/paperwork etc. I’m sure I signed whatever I needed to.


Yes, donation doesn’t cost anything for the donor. It is expensive for the receiving company/institution, as they have to do extensive testing, and then match donors, before they can sell it to transplant companies.

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