Québec City, June 16, 2008 - It is with much joy that the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHUQ) and Héma-Québec announce that it is now possible for future mothers who give birth at the CHUQ’s Centre mère-enfant in Québec City to register with the Public Cord Blood Bank. This participation will also soon be available to clients giving birth at the Saint-François-d’Assise Hospital (CHUQ). Previously considered organic waste, the blood contained in the umbilical cord can now be used as a significant source of stem cells. Cord blood transplants can help counter malfunctioning bone marrow stem cells responsible for the production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

The cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord once it has been cut, after the birth of the child. If this cord blood is not collected, it is discarded as biomedical waste, as is the placenta, following evaluation on a case-by-case basis.

“We are happy to be able to offer clients giving birth in a CHUQ establishment the possibility of contributing to Héma-Québec’s Public Cord Blood Bank. Not only does this constitute an important act of solidarity, it makes it possible to improve the treatment offered to children suffering mainly from leukemia and certain forms of anaemia. For many of these patients, this is the only treatment likely to save their life. This approach is also gaining ground for the treatment of similar conditions in adults. In addition, it is less invasive than bone marrow donations and is safe for both the mother and the child,” explained Dr. Normand Brassard, Head of the OB-GYN department at the CHUQ.

Héma-Québec runs the only public cord blood bank in Québec. It does so following regulations established by international certification organizations. The Public Cord Blood Bank is in the process of becoming fully certified.
“The aim of our Public Cord Blood Bank is to turn the stem cells thus collected into a collective resource and to provide a supply of optimal quality products to patients awaiting a transplant of such cells. The blood collected is processed and tested in our laboratories to ensure its safety and quality. If the cord blood donation perfectly meets our standards, we freeze it, and it then becomes available for candidates awaiting a hematopoietic stem cell transplant,” stated Dr. André Lebrun, Vice President, Medical Affairs in Hematology at Héma-Québec.

Aside from CHUQ, the St. Mary’s Hospital Centre, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the CHU Sainte-Justine and the Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital offer access to the Public Cord Blood Bank. Other hospital centres in Québec will also shortly be offering this option.

About the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec
The Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHUQ), with its 7,596 births in 2007, is one of the biggest establishments in Canada in terms of obstetrical volume and, accordingly, one of the greatest potential sources of cord blood. Every year, it provides general, specialized and highly specialized care to more than 500,000 people from the greater Québec region and all of Eastern Québec. With its some 9,000 employees, the CHUQ is also one of the biggest employers in the region. It includes the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, the Saint-François d’Assise Hospital, the CHUL and its Centre mère-enfant, as well as the Maison Paul-Triquet, the Centre de traitement dans la communauté and the Centre de pédopsychiatrie. In partnership with Université Laval, the CHUQ fosters the development of innovative approaches aiming to improve public health. To learn more about our institution, please visit our website at [French only].

About Héma-Québec
Héma-Québec's mission is to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe, optimal blood components, substitutes, human tissues and cord blood to meet the needs of all Quebecers; provide and develop expertise along with specialized and innovative services and products in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation. To learn more about Héma-Québec and umbilical cord blood donations, please visit the website

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Pascale St-Pierre

Director of Communications
Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec
Tel.: 418-525-4387

Media Line | 514-832-0871