Umbilical cord blood banking ethico-legal issues: review article

  • A Dhai
  • B Hira
  • J Moodley


The recent discovery that umbilical cord blood has a high concentration of haematopoeitic stem cells has led to cord blood being used to treat a variety of disorders.

Collection of cord blood is easy, non-invasive and generally does not interfere with the delivery process. However, there are various ethical and logistical issues surrounding both collection and storage of cord blood that require further discussion and clarification.

The vast discrepancy in cost between public and private cord blood banking has sparked debate surrounding commercial cord blood banks. This has led to various international bodies issuing policy statements and guidelines regarding collection protocols and banking.

Although banking of umbilical cord blood complies with the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence and non-munificence, whether distributive justice is respected or not is debatable at present. The following article reviews all the issues and controversies surrounding umbilical cord blood banking.

O & B Forum Vol.14(2) 2004: 7-11

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1027-9148