Monday, June 15, 2009

Donating Umbilical Cord Blood: Good Idea!

'The Catholic Church is against any and all use of stem cells, right?

"The archbishop of Cardiff is encouraging people to donate the singularly useful umbilical cord blood after giving birth.

"Archbishop Peter Smith is issuing this appeal on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on Sunday, the bishops' conference of England and Wales reported....

" 'Valuable cord blood can be extracted in a simple, safe procedure from the umbilical cord after birth, but currently most of this precious resource is discarded,' the statement affirmed...." (Zenit)
The Catholic Church has some pretty definite rules about killing people and breaking them down for parts - even if the parts are little tiny stem cells, and the people are little tiny babies.

As long as you don't have to murder someone to get them, using stem cells is just fine. I realize that, these days, that seems awfully restrictive: but that's the way the Catholic Church is.

The Zenit article reports that we're finding more new ways to use blood donated from umbilical cords at birth. For starters, it's a great source for stem cells. Some of the uses for umbilical cord blood developed so far include:
  • Treating
    • Leukemia
    • Sickle cell anemia
    • Thalassemia1
    • And other diseases

A Catholic Bishop in Favor of Stem Cell Use?!

'Everybody knows' that Christians are against science. Part of that comes from what was happening in Victorian England - but I'm getting off-topic. 'Intelligent' people, if they want to seem sophisticated, write articles like "Is the Church hostile toward science?" (The article's answer seems to be 'It used to be, but now that psychics are welcome [the author's view of reality - not mine] it's getting better.')

I think that part of the issue is that (from one point of view) the Catholic Church puts all sorts of barriers in the way of brilliant scientists whose search for knowledge has taken them 'beyond good and evil.' (I think Nietzsche wrote some great one-liners, but I don't buy into his philosophy, by the way.)

I can see where having to deal with ethics would get frustrating after a while. And, after all that fuss in the Nuremberg trials, governments started getting downright picky about experiments on human beings.

Apart from what may seem like stuffy rules protecting human dignity, and life, the Catholic Church is quite interested in humanity's ongoing quest to understand creation.

And, yes: the Catholic Church does approve of medical procedures. Providing that you don't need to murder one person to cure someone else.

Related posts: In the news: Background:
1 If you haven't heard of thalassemia, you're not the only one. The National Institutes of Health have a fairly short description of thalassemias. People with these blood disorders don't produce red blood cells at a below-normal rate. It's a genetic disorder. (thal-a-SE-me-ahs) are inherited blood disorders. "Inherited" means they're passed on from parents to children through genes.

One sort of thalassemia is fairly common among people whose ancestors come from the Mediterranean Basin, India, Southeast Asia, North Africa, or Indonesia. (emedicine) It can affect both men and women. "Thalassemias ... occur most often among people of Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African descent...." (NIH) The good news is that these days, there are pretty good ways of treating the disorder.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.