August 4, 2014
Legislators and elected officials at both the state and federal level are showing support for cord blood education, for expectant parents.
The National Academy of Sciences published “Establishing a National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank Program” in 2005. This was an Institute of Medicine report recommending a balanced view on cord blood banking options, to be presented and available to pregnant women and their families. The response to this report was positive, resulting in many legislators across the country to be contacted by their constituents, which led to the introduction of bills supporting the guidelines presented in the report. Currently, 24 states have enacted legislation meant to help inform pregnant parents of their options when it comes to donating or privately banking their newborn’s cord blood stem cells, or discarding the cord blood.
Based on this specific report, the House enacted Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 20051 . The act was: “To provide for the collection and maintenance of human cord blood stem cells for the treatment of patients and research, and to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.”
The 2005 bill sought to establish a national cord blood inventory and to provide cord blood banks the means to assist in the collection and maintenance of 150,000 high-quality and ethnically diverse cord blood units to be made available to the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.
Another purpose of the bill was to provide information to expectant parents detailing their cord blood options.
The bill was amended five years later with the enactment of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 20102 . The goal of H.R. 6081 was to reauthorize the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program. It also reauthorized the National Cord Blood Inventory Program, which supports the need to collect and maintain “genetically and ethnically diverse inventory of high-quality umbilical cord blood for transplantation.”
According to the bill, the need for legislation is great. The bill states that the Health Resources and Services Administration says that “at any given time there are some 6,000 people across the United States searching for a matched bone marrow donor or cord blood unit.”
By having the need for cord blood education and resources recognized by state and federal legislators, these acts have enabled the growth of more informed healthcare providers and parents.