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Numbers rise for storing umbilical cord

By Christine Cai (Shanghai Daily)

08:18, June 19, 2013

The Shanghai Cord Blood Bank said more parents are now willing to pay to store their child's umbilical cord and then offer it to the public because of its uniqueness and high value.

Last year, 60 percent of the new samples were paid for by parents for private use while the rest were donated.

Previously, one third of samples were for private storage and two thirds were donations.

"With many media reports of children suffering from leukemia, more parents prefer to keep a sample for possible use in the future," said Zhang Jiaqin, a bank official. "With the development of technology, a newborn's cord blood can also be useful to family members."

Cord blood is a sample of blood taken from a newborn baby's umbilical cord. It is rich in stem cells which can be used for treating leukemia, anemia, immunity diseases and have also been used for treatment chronic diseases like diabetes.

In the private section, one third of the samples are kept by parents who paid for all the testing and storage fees. They can donate them if anyone needs them.

In such cases, the bank informs the parents and seek their permission to donate the cord blood.

If they agree, parents can recoup all the expenses - from collection, processing, testing and storage - and can also get preferential treatment if they themselves need a sample in the future.

"Such options help in taking full use of the bank's samples, while giving parents an alternate method to make good of their child's cord blood," Zhang said.

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