Archbishop Peter Smith encouraged increased cord blood donation as the focus for World Blood Donor Day yesterday.
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.