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Cord blood: Rise in parents paying for private banking

The number of people paying thousands of pounds to freeze parts of their baby's umbilical cord ..

The number of people paying thousands of pounds to freeze parts of their baby's umbilical cord in case they get ill has risen sharply, figures show.

Cord blood and tissue are rich in stem cells and can be stored with private companies to use to treat the child for a range of life-threatening diseases.

Some 27,028 blood and tissue units were banked privately in 2018 compared with 16,965 units in 2014.

The Royal College of Midwives has previously not backed private banking.

According to regulator the Human Tissue Authority, there are seven private establishments in the UK licensed to process either cord blood or tissue.

'It's an investment in my children's health'

Mother-of-three Rosaira Tormey, from Sheffield, who has a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which increases her chances of getting breast cancer, said because of this she paid £2,700 to bank her son's umbilical cord blood and tissue.

Although stem cell treatment cannot currently treat her condition, she said she hoped keeping the cord could one day help her children if they were to get ill.

Ms Tormey, who also pays £100 a year for storage fees, said: "We just saw it as investment in their health.

"I've got no control over whether I've passed a faulty gene to them but I feel like I've got a little bit of control now if something was to happen.

"People save for their kids' weddings and things like that, so why not put something in place if they ever need that protection?"

Mothers can also choose to donate cord blood to the public stem-cell bank, the NHS Cord Blood Bank, or one run by a charity, such as the Anthony Nolan Trust.

These donations are made available for public use and are not kept specifically for individuals.

Private banks differ in that they store units solely for use by the donor or their family in the hope that if one of them becomes ill with a stem cell-treatable disease, such as blood cancer or immunodeficiencies, there might be a perfect match unit available.

Figures from the regulator, obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, showed the number of umbilical cord tissue units processed privately almost doubled between 2014 and 2018, rising from 6,289 to 11,950.

There was also an increase in the number of cord blood units processed, going from 10,676 in 2014 to 15,078 in 2018.

While numbers for private storage have risen, donations of cord blood to the public banks dropped from 4,634 in 2014 to 2,573 in 2018.

However, some public banks, including the NHS one, have a lower set collection target and therefore would not expect as many donations.

In the past, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said they supported public but not private banking.

They said there was not enough evidence to recommend routine private cord collection and banking unless there was a medical reason.

But both bodies said they were currently looking at Read More – Source

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I lost my arms and legs – stop it happening to others

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his fac..

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his face removed has called for mandatory training on sepsis for NHS staff.

Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is a serious complication of an infection, which can have devastating consequences if not treated quickly.

There were delays in spotting Tom Ray's sepsis.

He says a commitment is needed to avoid more tragedies.

Tom's story

Tom Ray was fit and healthy and living in Rutland in the East Midlands before he contracted sepsis at the age of 38 in 1999.

He had had a successful career in corporate banking and was in the process of setting up a business with his pregnant wife, Nic, when he fell ill.

His sepsis – thought to be caused by a cut to his gum during a trip to the dentist, combined with a chest infection – came on rapidly and led to vomiting and a high temperature.

But it took five hours at the hospital he was admitted to before the condition was diagnosed.

He spent months in a coma, during which time his wife Nic gave birth to their second child, Freddy.

His recovery has been a long and gruelling process, involving years of plastic surgery. (more…)

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Health

I lost my arms and legs – stop it happening to others

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his fac..

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his face removed has called for mandatory training on sepsis for NHS staff.

Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is a serious complication of an infection, which can have devastating consequences if not treated quickly.

There were delays in spotting Tom Ray's sepsis.

He says a commitment is needed to avoid more tragedies.

Tom's story

Tom Ray was fit and healthy and living in Rutland in the East Midlands before he contracted sepsis at the age of 38 in 1999.

He had had a successful career in corporate banking and was in the process of setting up a business with his pregnant wife, Nic, when he fell ill.

His sepsis – thought to be caused by a cut to his gum during a trip to the dentist, combined with a chest infection – came on rapidly and led to vomiting and a high temperature.

But it took five hours at the hospital he was admitted to before the condition was diagnosed.

He spent months in a coma, during which time his wife Nic gave birth to their second child, Freddy.

His recovery has been a long and gruelling process, involving years of plastic surgery. (more…)

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Health

NHS ‘should not prescribe acne drug’

The parents of young people who have killed themselves and patients unable to have sex are calling f..

The parents of young people who have killed themselves and patients unable to have sex are calling for the NHS to stop prescribing acne drug Roaccutane.

Ed Henthorn said it had caused him erectile dysfunction, psychosis and suicidal thoughts.

And one man who believes his son killed himself after taking the drug said the risks "are just too high".

Manufacturer Roche said "millions of patients worldwide have benefited from taking the drug".

The majority of those who take the drug have a positive experience.

'Pretty overwhelming'

"I used to think about girls… but my feelings, thoughts, just faded away," Ed Henthorn told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

He was 19 when he took Roaccutane. He describes his acne as mild but bad enough to want to treat.

After three weeks he started to experience side-effects, including reduced energy and sex drive.

Then he experienced erectile dysfunction.

"That was why I decided to stop taking it," he said. (more…)

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