Manama: Doha’s Women’s Hospital has become the first public hospital in the region to offer a private cord blood banking facility in partnership with the Virgin Health Bank Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), Qatari media reported.
Families who have their babies delivered at the Women’s Hospital can now have a contract with Virgin Health Bank to bank their newborn’s cord blood for an initial period of 20 years.
The purpose is to collect and store their baby’s cord blood stem cells to ensure they are available to treat disorders like beta thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia and cerebral palsy and, assuming they are a match, they would also be available should they be required by a family member as part of a treatment plan for a range of illnesses such as leukaemia.
Currently, stem cells obtained from cord blood are used in the treatment of over 80 diseases, the Qatar Tribune reported yesterday.
Speaking at the launch announcement on Sunday, Dr Rajan Jethwa, Virgin Health Bank-QSTP Chief Executive Officer, said that there were no ethical issues involved in cord blood banking since only adult stem cells were harvested and that the process has been confirmed as being Sharia-compliant.
He also stressed that the stem cells collected for storage would never be used for any experiment or research.
Virgin Health Bank charges a one-time fee of 12,950 riyals (Dh13,092) that covers the cost of the collection kit, collection, transportation, testing, processing and 20 years of storage.