Irish HSE May Face Legal Action On Cord Blood Collection

Irish HSE May Face Legal Action On Cord Blood Collection

Hospitals and private clinics in Ireland might be facing legal action from parents because of a policy that prevents the collection of cord blood stem cells at birth.

Professor Colin McGuckin, a stem cell specialist, said the country was being “left behind” because hospitals were denying parents a potentially life-saving service that could be used to treat illnesses in later life. Cord blood cells are similar to bone marrow in that they can be used to create any type of cell in the body. The cord blood is taken from umbilical cords and cryogenically stored for use in treating diseases such as lymphoma and leukaemia.

At this time, there are no Irish public hospital with programs designed to collect cord blood cells. Only private hospitals will agree to the procedure, and even then the cells have to be sent abroad to store. The Health Service Executive (HSE) said that in cases where consultants identified a risk to a child in later life, hospitals would agree to harvest the blood cells. However, at this point, Irish parents do not have this option.

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