WSJ: Calling all mothers — Umbilical Cord Blood Banking Business.

Buyer beware – blood-banking is poorly regulated – do your research to avoid dirty storage conditions, leaky samples, etc.

WSJ:  The question of whether to pay for storage of a baby’s cord blood is now routinely asked of expectant parents in obstetrician offices and hospital delivery rooms. Many states have passed laws requiring that doctors tell expectant parents their options for cord blood: discard it; bank it privately; or donate it to a public bank, which like a blood or organ bank helps people in need. The harvesting and storage of stem cells from the blood of umbilical cords has surged in the past decade to a $4 billion global industry.

But a Wall Street Journal analysis of government inspections and a review of lawsuits in the U.S. found problems in the loosely regulated cord-blood-banking business, including dirty storage conditions, leaky blood samples and firms going out of business.

Some private cord-blood banks are essentially marketing websites that lure customers, collect fees, then outsource the processing and storage of what is touted as biological life insurance for children.

Harvesting stem cells from umbilical cord blood to treat disease has surged in recent years. An inside look at the Howard P. Milstein Cord Blood Program at the New York Blood Center.

The pitch for private storage is compelling to expectant parents. A child’s stem cells—a kind of genetic building block that may repair damaged blood, tissue or organs—are less likely to be rejected by the body than someone else’s cells. Researchers say chances are slim for finding a perfect match at public banks, which last year stored a total of 193,418 samples nationwide.

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