American Medical Association Supports Cord Blood Donation
The American Medical Association this week at a meeting in Hawaii voted to adopt ethical guidelines to encourage pregnant women to donate the umbilical cord blood of their infants to public cord blood banks, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the AP/Times, the stem cells in cord blood are the "same stem cells that make up the bone marrow transplants that help many people survive certain cancers and other diseases," but "cord blood is more easily transplanted into unrelated people and can be thawed at a moment's notice."
Under the guidelines, AMA recommends that physicians seek approval from pregnant women to donate the umbilical cord blood of their infants before labor and disclose any relationships the doctors have with cord blood banks. Physicians also should not accept payments for referrals to cord blood banks, according to the guidelines.
AMA board member William Dolan in a statement said, "Umbilical cord blood stem cells are useful for some therapeutic purposes and as a potential source of stem cells," adding, "Physicians should be prepared to discuss cord blood banking options with their patients during pregnancy."
Separately, AMA voted to adopt a policy that supports routine HIV tests for adults. AMA board member Ardis Hoven in a statement said, "AMA's new policy calls on physicians to routinely test consenting adult patients for HIV" (AP/Los Angeles Times, 11/14).