Cord Blood Registry & Viacord Praise Introduction of Family Cord Blood Banking Act

WASHINGTON – Dec. 16, 2013 – PRNewswire-USNewswire – Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®) and Viacord, a division of PerkinElmer Inc. - two of the largest family cord blood banks in the nation - joined together today to praise U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Ron Kind (D-WI) for reintroducing HR 3673, the Family Cord Blood Banking Act.

The bipartisan legislation will ensure that umbilical cord blood banking services are recognized as a qualified medical expense so that the more than one million American families who have already banked their child's umbilical cord blood stem cells, and the millions of families who choose to do so in the future, can use tax-advantaged health dollars for the collection, processing and storage of these life-saving cells.

"As industry leaders, both CBR and Viacord are committed to doing all we can to increase awareness of the power of newborn stem cells to improve lives today and their potential to revolutionize treatment for many conditions in the future. We wholly endorse the Family Cord Blood Banking Act to establish cord blood banking as a qualified medical expense, thus helping American families access cord blood banking services through tax-advantaged health accounts," said Geoff Crouse, CEO of CBR.

Umbilical cord blood contains unique stem cells that can be collected immediately following birth from the umbilical cord. These stem cells have been used in more than 30,000 transplants worldwide during the last 25 years in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases in both adults and children. These stem cells also show great promise for regenerative medicine applications; in fact, aside from current treatments for many anemias, leukemia and certain other cancers, FDA-regulated clinical trials are currently underway to study the use of a child's own cord blood stem cells to treat autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and pediatric stroke.

"Viacord is excited to join with CBR in supporting this important piece of legislation. The Family Cord Blood Banking Act will make cord blood banking more affordable for American families and provide incentives to ensure that this valuable health resource is never thrown away," said Jim Corbett, President of Diagnostics for PerkinElmer.

Specifically, the Family Cord Blood Banking Act will allow expectant parents to use tax-free dollars to pay for cord blood banking services through Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA), Flex Spending Accounts (FSA) and the medical expenses tax deduction. Unlike other medical therapies that can be acquired at any time, the very nature of cord blood requires that it be processed and stored before medical use. Consequently, cord blood banking is a medical expense even though the use of these cells may not occur until later. Finally, the Family Cord Blood Banking Act will allow more Americans to recognize the long-term healthcare benefits of having a source of their own genetically unique stem cells stored for future use.