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Following the banking cycle of umbilical cord blood in India: the disparity between pre-banking persuasion and post-banking utilization

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To address critique of the rare uptake of umbilical cord blood (UCB) in private banks, hybrid-banking models would combine the advantages of “public UCB banking” and private UCB banking by responding to both market forces and public needs. We question both by following the cycle of UCB banking in India: the circulation and stagnation of UCB as waste, gift, biological insurance, enclaved good, source of saving lives and commodity through various practices of public, private and hybrid UCB banking. Making the journey from “recruitment,” “collection” and “banking” to “research” and “therapy” allowed us to identify concerns about the transparency of this cycle. Drawing on archival research and fieldwork interviews with different stakeholders in UCB banks in India, this article shows how private/hybrid cord blood banks are competing for their market share and its implication for the circulation of UCB: speculation, stagnation and opacity.
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Keywords: India; stem cells; umbilical cord blood banking

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Publication date: July 2, 2016

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