TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Ellen Karcher and Joseph F. Vitale which requires hospitals and health care professionals to advise pregnant women of the option to donate umbilical cord blood and placental tissue to a public or private blood bank was signed into law last week by Governor Corzine.
“New Jersey has established a record of supporting stem cell research, pushing the boundaries of our current understanding of medical science,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, the Vice Chair of the Senate Health Committee. “Through this legislation, we will ensure that all expecting moms know that they have an opportunity to contribute to medical progress by donating cord blood and placental tissue to State-sponsored research or private blood banks. This is another move forward in our efforts to advance medical understanding and find cures for currently incurable diseases or permanent injuries.”
The new law, S-2736, will ensure that a pregnant woman in New Jersey be advised by her hospital or health care professional of the different options in donating umbilical cord blood or placental tissue, including public blood banks associated with the National Marrow Donor Program and commercial storage programs. In addition, the Department of Health and Senior Services will create a brochure detailing donation options for pregnant women, which would be provided to patients receiving pre-natal care. The bill will not apply to any hospital or health care professional who is directly affiliated with a religion that opposes blood transfer on moral grounds.
“Given the national failure to successfully cultivate and support stem cell research, it’s up to states to push this research into the forefront and do everything they can to make research goals a reality,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health Panel. “In New Jersey, we’ve provided funding and resources to attract the best and the brightest in stem cell research, and have established ourselves as a national leader in promoting this sort of research. By reaching out to pregnant women and educating them about what they can do to push our knowledge of stem cells forward, we are taking the next big step in supporting this life-giving research.”
The bill was approved by both the Senate and Assembly last month.