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Knowledge, Beliefs, and Decisions of Pregnant Australian Women Concerning Donation and Storage of Umbilical Cord Blood: A Population-Based Survey

Authors

  • Christopher F. C. Jordens BA (Hons1), MPH, PhD,

    Associate Professor in Bioethics and Principal Research Fellow, Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Australia
    • Address correspondence to Christopher Jordens, Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Building 1, Level 1, Medical Foundation Building (K25), The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

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  • Ian H. Kerridge MPhil (Cantab), FRACP, FRCPA,

    Associate Professor and Director
    1. Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Australia
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  • Cameron L. Stewart BEc LLB (Hons1), PhD, FACLM (Hon),

    Pro-Dean and Professor of Health
    1. Law and Ethics, Sydney Law School, The University of Sydney, Australia
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  • Tracey A. O'Brien FRACP, MBChB, MHL, BSc,

    Associate Professor and Director
    1. Blood & Marrow Transplant Program, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, Sydney, Australia
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  • Gabrielle Samuel BSc (Hons1), MA, PhD,

    PhD student
    1. Sociology and Communications, Brunel University, UK
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  • Maree Porter BA (Hons), PhD,

    Research Manager
    1. Clinical and Population Perinatal Health Research, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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  • Michelle A. C. O'Connor MIPH,

    Sexual and Reproductive Health Planning and Policy Adviser
    1. Public Health Division, The Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Suva, Fiji
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  • Natasha Nassar MPH, PhD

    Principal Research Fellow and NHMRC Career Development Fellow
    1. Clinical and Population Perinatal Health Research, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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Abstract

Background

Many women giving birth in Australian hospitals can choose to donate their child's umbilical cord blood to a public cord blood bank or pay to store it privately. We conducted a survey to determine the proportion and characteristics of pregnant women who are aware of umbilical cord blood (UCB) banking and who have considered and decided about this option. The survey also sought to ascertain information sources, knowledge, and beliefs about UCB banking, and the effect of basic information about UCB on decisions.

Methods

Researchers and hospital maternity staff distributed a survey with basic information about UCB banking to 1,873 women of at least 24 weeks' gestation who were attending antenatal classes and hospital clinics in 14 public and private maternity hospitals in New South Wales.

Results

Most respondents (70.7%) were aware of UCB banking. Their main information sources were leaflets from hospital clinics, print media, antenatal classes, TV, radio, friends, and relatives. Knowledge about UCB banking was patchy, and respondents overestimated the likelihood their child would need or benefit from UCB. Women who were undecided about UCB banking were younger, less educated, or from ethnic or rural backgrounds. After providing basic information about UCB banking, the proportion of respondents who indicated they had decided whether or not to donate or store UCB more than doubled from 30.0 to 67.7 percent.

Conclusions

Basic information for parents about UCB banking can affect planned decisions about UCB banking. Information should be accurate and balanced, should counter misconceptions, and should target specific groups.

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