Many European families can bank their baby’s umbilical cord blood at a hospital. But there are hospitals in some European countries that do not provide cord blood banking services to families, putting families that do want to bank their baby’s cord blood in a difficult position.

Ireland is one European state where only a few hospitals allow families to bank cord blood, but even those few medical centres require families to make special arrangements beforehand. Katalin and Oliver Dempsey were one family living in Ireland that struggled to bank their new baby’s cord blood due to the difficult process.

But a new study conducted by a cord blood bank in Ireland found that families want a smoother banking process from the hospitals. The study surveyed over 250 households and determined that over 90 percent of respondents want more hospitals to offer cord blood banking services.

Like the Dempseys, many Irish families recognize that cord blood stem cells can provide therapy to their children, with potential to help genetically related members of the family. Cord blood stem cells have been used to help improve the lives of children living with leukaemia, lymphoma, and other blood disorders – with clinical trials testing if cord blood therapy could help children with other conditions.

One of the respondents, whose identity remained anonymous, was a former nurse who worked in oncology departments, providing her a keen insight into cancers and therapy to improve cancers.

“I knew to ask for cord collection. I think parents should be informed and should be given the option.”

July is Cord Blood Awareness Month, and an educational awareness campaign in Ireland could motivate lawmakers to amend the system for the best interests of families. More details about the survey are available by following the link here.