Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size

Private Cord Blood Banking: Who Owns the Blood?

Private Cord Blood Banking: Who Owns the Blood?

WebMD Feature

June 26, 2000 -- Once tossed in the trash, umbilical cord blood is now worth big money, thanks to medical discoveries and entrepreneurial efforts like private for-profit blood banks. However, this newly acquired value spawns some pressing legal and ethical issues.

Perhaps the most important question is that of ownership. Although laws have yet to establish this, legal experts consider the cord blood to be the property of the baby. But just as parents must make decisions in the best interests of their infants and children, so, too, do they become the guardians of this potentially lifesaving material. Upon deciding to bank cord blood privately, parents have drawn up legal documents in which they designate that upon reaching age 18, the child can take over guardianship of the cells.

Recommended Related to Health A-Z

Ferroportin Disease

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Ferroportin Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Ferroportin Disease article > >

Liability issues also arise with respect to the collection process. In contracts with parents, private blood banks usually try to absolve themselves from any responsibility if, for instance, the cord blood isn't collected during their baby's delivery, or if the blood sample isn't viable when needed. Such contracts often leave binding arbitration as the only recourse for parents.

Kristi Coale is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist who specializes in science and medical issues.

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
feet
Solutions for 19 types.
Woman running
Boost Your Metabolism.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
brain scan with soda
Tips to kick the habit.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
stressed working woman
And how to fix them?
fat caliper
Check your BMI.
woman dreaming
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
man with indigestion
How to keep yours at bay.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.