MALAGA’S umbilical cord bank is the world’s third-largest, with 20,000 stored samples.

The centre received 8,541 cord-blood donations from Andalucia, Murcia and Castilla La Mancha last year, said Isidro Prat, the centre’s manager.

Only banks in New York and San Francisco have larger stocks.

Umbilical cords were discarded in the past but mothers are now informed of the importance of donating cord blood. Rich in stem cells, this can later save lives and is vital for transplants and in regenerative medicine.

The Malaga cord bank was founded in 1995, following in the footsteps of New York, Dusseldorf and Milan.

Opening six months after Barcelona’s own cord bank it is now the most important in Spain, explained Dr Prat.

Sixty-three samples of cord-blood from Malaga were received by 59 patients last year in Bordeaux, Bogota, Utrecht, Tampa, Houston, Australia and Israel amongst other countries.

One sample went to a patient in Malaga. Spain has a national register connected to all other cord-blood banks in the world.

“Mothers are proud and happy that a decision made in the past can help others, said Dr. Prat.

So are donors, he added, recalling the “good-luck” drawing sent by a Spanish five-year-old to a Swedish boy who received stem cells from his cord-blood.

By Linda Hall

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