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Cord blood storage bid by MP

8th January 2008

Conservative MP David Burrowes is aiming to get doctors to offer parents the option of storing their baby’s umbilical cord blood.

He is to present a bill to Parliament to allow the storage of cord blood, which is rich in stem cells that can treat diseases such as leukaemia.

Several private firms have started offering the service as NHS provision is limited to only a handful of trusts.

Figures show that at present, just 2,000 samples are taken by the NHS each year to supply the NHS Cord Blood Bank, which is used to treat anyone who needs it for a blood cell disorder.

Mr Burrowes said he had been persuaded to put forward the 10-minute rule bill after sitting on a cross-party group which looked at the issue of stem cell therapy during a review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Bill.

He aims to require doctors to inform parents of the technique and through the debate hopes to raise awareness of the issue and lead to it being incorporated into another bill, possibly the embryo bill, which is due back before the House of Commons.

Mr Burrowes said: “I want to stop the waste of life-saving cord blood and open up the opportunities for treatment of diseases and ethical stem cell research.?

He is being supported experts and patients groups including the Leukaemia Society, the Anthony Nolan Trust and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. However, the RCOG recommends that an appropriately trained and skilled technician is present to collect the cord blood.

 

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