Sen. Fasano Hosts Cord Blood Educational Forum

February 1, 2010

Sen. Fasano meets with legislators and national experts on public cord blood banking

Hartford, CT- State Senator Leonard Fasano (R-North Haven) today hosted an educational forum with fellow legislators and nationally-recognized experts to discuss umbilical cord blood banking. Legislators in attendance included: Sen. Jonathan Harris (D-West Hartford), Rep. Betsy Ritter (D-Waterford & Montville), Sen. Dan Debicella (R-Shelton), Rep. Janice Giegler (R- New Fairfield & Danbuy), Rep. Larry Miller (R-Shelton), and Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D- Woodbridge). Experts highlighted the benefits of public cord blood banking and offered suggestions as to how the state of Connecticut can work to make it more affordable and accessible to the general public.

“The prominent experts that attended the forum and shared their knowledge on cord blood banking were critical to getting the ball rolling on a very important issue,” said Sen. Fasano. “The legislature began working on this issue last year, but we still have a long way to go. In speaking with Public Health Committee co-chairmen, Sen. Harris and Rep. Ritter, who are very supportive of cord blood banking, we have decided in a bi-partisan fashion, to create a taskforce to study public blood banking in Connecticut.  There are many ways to approach public banking and this team will find the most practical and efficient way.  The taskforce is our first step towards creating comprehensive legislation in 2011 that will provide the people of Connecticut with a valuable opportunity to plan for the health of their children and families.”
Dr. Charles Lockwood, a world-renowned expert in maternal-fetal medicine, led the panel discussion along with Sen. Fasano, and has been a lead proponent of establishing a public cord blood bank in Connecticut. Dr. Lockwood serves as chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine. He also serves as Chief of Ob/Gyn at Yale New Haven Hospital and is the director of the Yale Women’s Health Center.

 “We’re looking for legislation to come out of this dialogue,” said Sen. Fasano. “And if the bipartisanship I have seen on this issue is any indication, I believe we are on the right track.”

Cord blood, like bone marrow, has been identified by the medical community as a rich source of unique stem cells that will potentially save or enhance many lives.  Science is still discovering the tremendous capability of stem cells and the important role cord blood plays in stem cell progress.

The taskforce is expected to meet periodically throughout the 2010 legislative session.