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The collection of “quality” umbilical cord blood for stem cell treatments: conflicts, compromises, and clinical pragmatism

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Incentives have been proposed to National Health Service (NHS) hospitals to encourage the collection of “quality” umbilical cord blood (UCB) to treat people with blood disorders. As UCB is collected immediately after a woman has given birth, maternity practices have come under scrutiny. Sixty-two interviews were conducted between 2009 and 2010 with those working on maternity wards, and in UCB collection and banking. Ethical approval was granted by the university institution and the NHS Research Ethics Committee. Participants perceived a conflict between acquiring a “quality” UCB sample for blood disease sufferers and concerns for maternal and neonatal health. Options to overcome the conflict were compromises that demonstrated that those most powerful in the debates are those conducting maternity practices, whilst those involved in the banking of UCB have less influence perhaps as a consequence of the lower priority of “quality” UCB collection in relation to maternal and neonatal health.
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Keywords: clinical pragmatism; maternity practices; umbilical cord blood

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Health and Medicine, Furness College, Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

Publication date: July 2, 2016

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