Current status of umbilical cord blood storage and provision to private biobanks by institutions handling childbirth in Japan

BMC Medical Ethics 23 (1):1-7 (2022)
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BackgroundThe Act Regarding the Promotion of the Appropriate Supply of Hematopoietic Stem Cells for Transplant regulates only how public banks store and provide umbilical cord blood for research or transplantation. Japan had no laws to regulate how the private banks manage the procedures, harvesting, preparation, and storage of such blood. As a result, the status of UCB distribution remains unknown. We conducted a survey to investigate the current status of UCB storage and provision to private biobanks by Japanese institutions that handle childbirth.MethodsQuestionnaire forms were mailed to 3,277 facilities handling childbirth that were registered in the Japan Council for Quality Health Care website.ResultsOf the 1,192 institutions handling childbirth that participated in the survey, 34.4% responded that they currently provide UCB to private biobanks, while 16.1% of facilities did so in the past. Moreover, some institutions currently provide or formerly provided UCB to medical treatment facilities, research institutions, companies, or overseas treatment facilities, research institutions, or companies. A certain number of institutions handling childbirth did not even provide explanations or obtain consent when the UCB was harvested from private bank users.ConclusionsThis is the first study to determine the status of UCB provision to private banks by Japanese institutions handling childbirth. Future studies will need to examine in detail how institutions handling childbirth provide explanations to private bank users and UCB providers as well as how these institutions obtain consent.



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