WHEREAS, in recent years, scientists have discovered that placental and umbilical cord blood, holds enormous promise in its ability to provide a rich supply of stem cells for new treatments for many diseases, conditions and injuries, including stroke, spinal cord injury, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, organ and nerve regeneration, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and lupus; and
WHEREAS, umbilical cord and placental stem cells can be isolated from placentas and umbilical cords that would normally be discarded and destroyed after a healthy birth; and
WHEREAS, many women are not aware of their option to donate placental or umbilical cord blood, and consequently the blood is often discarded as medical waste after childbirth; and
WHEREAS, there are an estimated 4 million births annually in the United States and 115,000 births in the State of New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, there are a limited number of cord blood banks in the nation and creating a bank of placental and umbilical cord blood will greatly increase the available donor pool for currently available life-saving transplantation procedures; and
WHEREAS, the need for women from all racial and ethnic groups to donate their baby's cord blood is particularly urgent with respect to racial and ethnic minorities, who face a greater challenge in finding a donor match for currently available transplantation procedures to alleviate diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of this State, as established by P.L.2003, c.203, that stem cell research shall be conducted ethically and in accordance with the highest scientific standard shall be permitted; to this end, the State has become a leader by investing in stem cell research; and
WHEREAS, medical research advances that lead to better treatments of diseases and ultimately cures will help reduce long-term health care costs on New Jersey taxpayers; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD J. CODEY, Acting Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall develop educational materials for health care professionals to inform them of the value of placental and umbilical cord blood donation.
- The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, in consultation with the New Jersey Coriell Institute for Medical Research and the Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program at Community Blood Services, the State's non-profit cord blood banks and participants in the National Marrow Donor Program, shall establish two pilot programs, one each in Northern and Southern New Jersey, for the purpose of allowing consenting expectant mothers, delivering in qualified hospital facilities, to donate placental and umbilical cord blood following childbirth.
- The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall develop a plan to make placental and umbilical cord blood units widely available for the purpose of stem cell research in the State.
- The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall seek funding for cord blood banking and research from various funding sources, including state, federal and public/private partnerships, and nothing in this Order shall be construed to preempt those efforts.
- This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 18th day
Two Thousand and Five, and of the
Independence of the United States, the Two
Hundred and Thirtieth.
/s/ Richard J. Codey
/s/ Mark J. Fleming
Deputy Chief Counsel to the Governor