Cord Blood Banks are a lot like real ones:
People fear that India, which is coming into the cord banking world now with LifeCell, may not be too stringent on who gets to buy their blood — and people may be dying to donate. Wired has the story:
Most experts agree that public cord-blood banking is a good idea. Stem cells from both cord blood and bone marrow treat many blood diseases, but cord blood is easier to obtain. Cord blood is also less likely to be rejected than bone marrow, which requires an exact match, usually from a family member. Similar to a blood bank, a cord-blood bank relies on donations to cover a broad range of immune types. The more donors, the more likely patients in need will find a match.
But in India, where female infanticide and body-organ sales are not uncommon, watchdog groups worry that a massive cord-blood bank like LifeCell’s could create a dangerous demand for umbilical cords.
“The notion of worldwide registries that can supply transplant tissue to each other has obvious attractions,” said Satyajit Rath, a medical activist at the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi. “The cord-farm notion, on the other hand, is very troubling. Given the reality of poverty, it is not impossible to imagine a situation where people would have (or even abort) babies simply in order to sell umbilical cord blood.”