Since the first successful use of cord blood as source of haemopoietic stem cells for transplantation in 1988, more than 2000 patients with malignant or non-malignant disorders have been treated with this procedure. Collection and storage of cord blood has prompted ethical considerations, mainly dealing with the issues of autonomy in making decisions about donation of cord blood, and of privacy and confidentiality in the tests required before use of placental cells for transplantation. The ethical implications of possible storage of cord-blood cells for autologous use has also been discussed. Preimplantation selection of HLA-matched embryos to obtain a donor of cells for cord-blood transplantation of a sibling with a life-threatening disease has raised the issue of the extent to which this approach complies with the principles of bioethics.
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