Qatar to offer a private cord blood banking facility

June 14, 2010
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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 thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia and cerebral palsy and, assuming that they are a match, 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.

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 Shariah-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 QR 12,950 that covers the cost of collection kit, collection, transportation, testing, processing and 20 years of storage.

In case, the cord blood sample is found unsuitable for storage, QR10, 000 out of the total amount will be refunded, the daily said.

The construction of the cord blood stem cell processing and cryogenic storage facility at the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) was expected to be completed soon and stem cells collection would start by year-end. The centre will become Qatar’s first and only cryogenic stem cell storage facility.

However, while the facility is still under construction, stem cells collected by Virgin Health Bank-QSTP are transported to its processing and storage facilities in the UK.

Women’s Hospital Executive Director Nish Patel said that there were 15,553 births at the hospital last year.

“Our objective in establishing the partnership with Virgin Health Bank is to offer our patients and their families an access to cord blood banking service for the future benefit of their children.” As part of the programme, HMC and Virgin Health Bank will conduct awareness campaigns in partnership with the primary health centres and malls.

 

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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