The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) warned parents in the UK last week against banking the cord blood and umbilical cells from their babies in order to have 'insurance' against future diseases in their children. Scientists and doctors have said that the procedure cannot be justified on scientific grounds.
Doctors said that parents were often being targeted by commercial organisations and could be charged up to £600 a time for the storage of their baby's cord blood. These organisations promised 'once in a lifetime' opportunities and said the process was 'like freezing a spare immune system' for children.
But the RCOG said that although there is some evidence that cord blood and cells have been used successfully in the treatment of some diseases, there was not enough evidence to justify routine collection and storage of cord blood. Professor Nick Fisk said that 'we are concerned that commercial companies are targeting pregnant women with such emotive literature when the scientific evidence is not yet there to back up their claims'.,