Is Cord Blood A Source For Controversial Stem Cells?
No. And it’s important to understand the difference.
There are two different types of stem cells. Embryos have “pluripotent” stem cells, which are the most basic stem cells. They are primitive (or undifferentiated) and they are the building blocks for new tissue and organs. They are clearly very useful medically.
The controversy over these stem cells is that they must be taken from embryos and some people believe it is unethical to destroy an embryo for medical or research purposes.
The Stem Cell Controversy Is Not Over Cord Blood Stem Cells
The stem cells found in the baby’s cord blood are fundamentally different. They are not taken from an embryo, but rather from an umbilical cord (which is generally discarded) after a baby’s birth. There is no controversy about collecting and storing cord blood stem cells because the cord blood would otherwise be medical waste.
Although, to date, cord blood treatments have only been used to treat blood diseases, there has been extensive medical evidence that, under the right circumstances, cord blood treatments using stems cells could be used to treat a much broader range of diseases. The beauty of using stem cells harvested from cord blood rather than embryos is that there is no stem cell controversy.