In contrast to the Planned Parenthood controversies presently happening in the United States, The Israeli National Public Cord Blood Bank program, in collaboration with leading medical centers and supporting associations, saves lives worldwide by collecting, testing, processing, storing and distributing high-quality blood products.
“Collecting life saving stem cells from what would otherwise be medical waste, without the ethical/moral issues of aborting a baby, and using these cells to treat dozens of people in Israel and the rest of the world, is science at its best,” noted Jonathan Feldstein, Director of Heart to Heart, an organization which supports Israel’s national ambulances, EMS and blood banking institutions.
Stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord when a woman gives full consent and volunteers to donate the cells immediately after giving birth, overriding questions often associated with human embryo sourced cells. In fact, according to the Vatican newspaper “Osservatore Romano“, the Roman Catholic Church calls amniotic stem cell science “the future of medicine”.
As the Israel Cancer Association points out, “Rabbis from all groups are united in their view that supporting cord blood collection and the maintaining of a complete database fulfills the commandment of charity and saving souls. They have signed a call for new mothers to donate cord blood and expressed their appreciation to those who have generously helped in promoting and expanding the National Cord Blood Bank.”
Israel’s National Cord Blood Bank has trained midwives and phlebotomists in maternity wards throughout the country to collect the life saving cells. The units are transported daily to blood services laboratories to be used in patients who need stem cell transplantation to save their lives. Stem cell therapy can be used to both treat and prevent numerous diseases or conditions.
Worldwide, more than 20,000 stem cell transplants from cord blood have taken place, successfully treating people with more than 80 different diseases. Bone marrow transplant is a crude form of stem cell therapy that has been used clinically for many years without controversy.
In the future, cord blood stem cells are expected to provide treatment and cures for damaged organs, spinal cord injuries and debilitating illnesses such as malignancies, stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.
“In contrast to the Planned Parenthood controversies going on recently, the Israel National Public Cord Blood Bank collects stem cells without the moral issues raised concerning abortion,” Feldstein clarified.
Unlike private, for profit businesses that collect and store cord blood, “Israel’s National Cord Blood Bank is a free public and nonprofit service,” Feldstein points out. “However, a unit of cord blood costs $2,000 to process and maintain. Heart to Heart is one of the proud supporters of this impressive program.”
Thus far, there have been over 40 life saving matches in Israel and more than 15 matches in dozens of other countries. With Israel’s wide range of ethnic groups ingathered from the four corners of the world, a study done by the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW) organization in 2009 found that forty-two percent of the cord blood units from here have unique tissue typing characteristics. In comparison, the average global registry only provides six percent unique phenotypes.
This data indicates the vital importance of continuing every effort to increase the number of cord blood units in Israel’s public cord blood banks. Additionally, cord blood transplants do not require the same stringent matching criteria as organ transplants.
The BMDW study ranked Israel fifth worldwide with regards to the number of available cord blood units in proportion to population size. Recognizing that a well stocked and organized registry will save lives all over the world, Israel continues to put forth unprecedented energy towards increasing their supplies and data collection.
“Israel sanctifies all life. Our highest obligation is to save lives,” contemplated Feldstein. “Israel’s National Cord Blood Bank preserves life saving stem cells to save the lives of all Israelis and people all over the world. This truly embodies our calling to be a blessing to the families of the world.”