News

Archbishop Peter Smith calls for greater awareness about cord blood donation

12/06/2009

Archbishop Peter Smith this week encouraged increased cord blood donation as the focus for World Blood Donor Day (14 June).

As well as blood taken from adults, researchers are now finding more uses for blood donations taken from the umbilical cord at birth. Cord blood is rich in stem cells and is already being used to treat many different diseases including leukaemia, sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia. Valuable cord blood can be extracted in a simple, safe procedure from the umbilical cord after birth, but currently most of this precious resource is discarded.

The therapeutic use of cord blood stem cells raises no ethical problems, unlike the use of embryonic stem cells derived from human embryos.

“I encourage people to learn more about cord blood donation and for expectant mothers to consider donating umbilical cord blood after the birth of their child. The birth of a child is a wonderful gift, and a donation of cord blood could help transform the lives of those who could benefit from the extracted stem cells,” said the Most Reverend Peter Smith, Archbishop of Cardiff. 

Notes 

For more information about cord blood stem cells, click here: lifecellinternational.com

The generosity of giving blood was affirmed by Pope John Paul II in his speech to blood and organ donors: "I appreciate the purpose which has united and mobilised you: namely, to promote and encourage such a noble and meritorious act as donating your own blood... to those of your brothers and sisters who have need of it. Such a gesture is more laudable in that you are motivated, not by a desire for earthly gain or ends, but by a generous impulse of the heart, by human and Christian solidarity - the love of neighbour, which forms the inspiring motive of the Gospel message, and which has been defined, indeed, as the new commandment." (August 2nd 1984)