An interesting article on the BBC News Homepage about a scheme to store blood taken from umbilical cords.
Storing Blood from Umbilical Cords. BBC News
I could find no reference to cord blood stem cells in the WT c/d rom, too new I guess..
In an article on stem cell research, which was slanted in a negative way but did not make any statement as to it being definitely wrong, it referred to another one on Bone Marrow transplant .This said
WT 1984. May 15 p 31
"The Bible states clearly that God’s servants must ‘abstain from blood.’ (Acts 15:28, 29; Deuteronomy 12:15, 16) But, since red cells originate in the red bone marrow, do the Scriptures class marrow with blood? No. In fact, animal marrow is spoken of like any other flesh that could be eaten. Isaiah 25:6 says that God will prepare for his people a banquet that includes "well-oiled dishes filled with marrow." Normal slaughtering and drainage procedures never drain all blood cells from the marrow. Yet once a carcass is drained, then any of the tissue may be eaten, including the marrow.
Though a personal decision has to be made on this matter, the Bible’s comments about blood and marrow should help the individual to decide."
(although in practice that a blood transfusion would be required as well, which makes it out of order)
Would they view stem cells from a discarded umbilcal cord in the same way? Who know...
The official WT response:
*** w97 2/1 p. 29 Questions From Readers ***If there is very good reason to believe that such a practice is followed in the hospital where a Christian will give birth, it would be proper simply to direct the physician that the placenta and the umbilical cord should be disposed of, not used in any way.
Often, the red blood cells and plasma, which are not needed for transplants, are removed so the CBU [cord blood unit] takes less storage space.
Why coudn't a JW use cord blood that had red blood cells and plasma removed? It's the stem cells that are important for transplant. These are very same type of cells that are transplanted from bone marrow, which is an acceptable procedure for witnesses. Interestingly, white blood cells and red blood cells (reticulocytes) exist in transplanted bone marrow...
Even if the RBCs and plasma are not removed, the WT stated on 5/15/1984, p. 31 in a QFR that a bone marrow transplant would be a "personal decision", even though " the withdrawn marrow may have some blood with it." So we see that the WTS position on cord blood is totally inconsistent with their position on bone marrow transplants.