Ohio House Passes Bill Supporting Umbilical Cord Blood Banking, Donation
by Steven Ertelt
June 3, 2009
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — The Ohio legislature took a step to help promote adult stem cell research on Wednesday when it approved a bill concerning umbilical cord blood. The Ohio state House, by a vote of 97 to 0, approved H.B. 102 to have the state government promote the ethical research alternative.
Sponsored by Rep. Todd Book, the bill would the Ohio Department of Health to place printable materials on its web site with information on umbilical cord blood banking and donation.
The Department of Health would encourage health care professionals to provide the materials to pregnant women.
Mike Gonidakis, the director of Ohio Right to Life, says the bill is a good idea because umbilical cord blood is an excellent and ethical source of stem cells that can be obtained with no risk to the mother or child.
"We are pleased that the Ohio House has seen the wisdom of this life-saving legislation," he told LifeNews.com after the vote. By increasing public awareness of cord blood donation, this bill should increase the number and diversity of cord blood donations and thus increase the number of patients who can obtain the match they need."
Stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood have been used to successfully treat over 100 diseases and medical conditions including sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and lymphoma. However, most umbilical cord blood is currently being discarded after birth.
Cord blood is often matched by racial and ethnic background and many patients who are most in need of a transplant cannot find a suitable match, Gonidakis said. A March 2007 Detroit News article indicated that, at that time, about 50% of whites found the cord blood matches they needed, while only 18% of African-Americans did.
Although banking cord blood for personal or family use with a private bank can involve significant expense, donations to public cord blood banks involve no expense for the donor.
The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate and would then go on to the governor if approved.
Related web sites:
Ohio Right to Life – https://www.ohiolife.org
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