From Večernji list about Umbilical Blood Bank

Read the article on Umbilical Blood Bank issue presented from today’s Večernji list. Ph.D Mirando Mrsić, medical director of the Foundation also spoke for Večernji list.

MOTHER CELLS – umbilical blood will be taken in Petrova and Rebro hospitals. Author: Diana Glavina Source: Večernji list At the end of this month, in our major maternity hospital, Petrova, umbilical blood will be taken officially, stored and kept in the bank in Zagreb Rebro hospital. We’ll start to collect umbilical blood for mother cell bank, that will serve all patients. It is a voluntary bank; we already have a consent from about ten pregnant women. After Petrova, we proceed to “Sveti Duh” hospital, and “Merkur” will follow. We plan to encompass all maternity hospitals in Zagreb and all Croatian maternity hospitals by the middle of 2008. Mirando Mrsić has, among others, initiated the foundation of umbilical blood bank “Ana Rukavina”.

Transport issue Judging by current interest of pregnant women, I am sure that with 2.500 births a year in our hospital at this moment, between 5 and 10% of women would be willing to store umbilical blood. We have occasionally met the requests of the parents and so far about 10 procedures of this kind have been performed.

We stopped then, upon information that private companies dealing with blood transport to another country are not allowed to do this because they have no certificate that blood transport abroad is law-compliant, said Ph.D. Srećko Ciglar, head of Gynecology Clinic of CH Merkur.

Head of gynecology clinic in Vinogradska hospital Ph.D. Goran Grubišić says that there were three pregnant women recently who had their umbilical blood taken. Ph.D. Herman Haller, gynecologist and head of KBC Rijeka says that umbilical blood is taken there if a woman so desires, on condition that the family has organized transport to another bank.

So practically now the husband will bring a special box to the maternity hospital, most often from umbilical blood bank from Graz, upon her wife’s agreement with the gynecologist; the box will contain whatever is required to take blood out of the umbilicus, and will return and store it in private umbilical blood bank personally or via blood transport companies. There’s also information that women who can afford it go and have their babies abroad and store umbilical blood there immediately.

Regulations on the conditions The so-called validation studies were conducted to test quality of umbilical blood taking; Regulations of the ministry of health on conditions of facilities, expert workers and medical-technical equipment used in taking and storage of umbilical blood-forming mother cells is nearly finished.

The Regulations regulate, among other issues, the relations between voluntary and family bank, in 70:30 ratio. The goal is to collect some 500 umbilical blood samples for the voluntary bank by the end of the year and to form a bank of 700 samples for general patient requirements and 300 in private bank, respectively.

While umbilical blood taking and storage in the bank is in preparation in Croatia, practice differs from one maternity hospital to another, putting women in an uneven position, depending on where they bear their children. Gynecologists, on the other hand, are daily faced with questions, pleas and wishes of pregnant women who want to submit to this relatively simple and harmless procedure of umbilical mother cell collecting.
They stress that at least five of twenty women inquire on the possibility to take umbilical blood. Why is it so important today for the couples to store umbilical blood? Today leukemia is treated with mother cells, however basic science is taking large steps towards the goal of differentiating mother cells into certain tissues and organs.

Scientists point out that mother cells will be used in treatment of diabetes, heart diseases, spinal cord lesions, multiple sclerosis and other neurological changes.

Children who are born today perhaps have a chance of treatment with their own mother cells when they grow up. Obviously, time has come to start collecting umbilical blood in Croatia as well.

The price of umbilical blood storage and keeping in the family bank will be determined by KBC Zagreb. In private banks abroad, 1.500 € is paid immediately and between 50 to 100 € for each subsequent year of storage, says dr. Mrsić, while adding that private banks in the world, particularly in America, are quite diversified, pointing out that great business is in question.

Contract with parents for the period of 18 years „Ana Rukavina” Foundation will finance a voluntary bank for the start; upon collecting a certain quantity of blood in a family bank, the money will be used to finance voluntary bank costs. The contract between the bank and parents will be signed for 18 years, i.e. until the age of maturity, when the child will decide freely or with his parents’ assistance what to do with his/her mother cells.

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