Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Give me my Blood Back

So I was perusing my Washington Post headlines today (I've become so well-informed since moving to D.C.), and I ran across this article on privacy rights over blood samples taken from newborns. Apparently pretty much every state takes blood samples to test for a bazillion different things, and many states dispose of them after a year or immediately, or whenever, but certain states like to hold on to them and use them for research. It was interesting until it got personal. You got it, Michigan holds them indefinitely and has recently moved them all to a new facility in Detroit to try and re-vamp Detroit as a medical research center. Somehow I don't see this happening, but I particularly don't like it because little dots of my blood are there.

I don't really think that they are going to do bad things with my blood, but still, it's an interesting ethical issue that they don't have to ask permission to do this. According to the WaPo article, they will start asking parents in Michigan for permission, but it's too much work to go back and ask the 3.5 million people who already have their blood in the center. The article claims that the parents can ask to have the center to remove the blood from the research pool, but I can find no information on the Michigan Neonatal Biobank website. Apparently they are legally bound to hold your blood indefinitely, just in case I ever need a tiny dried piece of my blood. So if you ever happen to see a mini-Laura wandering around, you can rest assured I did not change my life-long stance of not ever popping out a child, and instead Michigan decided it would be a good idea to clone me.

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