The report analyses the science and ethics behind the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) proposed rule to redefine hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells (HSC) as an organ. These are the cells that originate in bone marrow but are also found in the bloodstream. Today, over 70% of HSC donations are extracted from the bloodstream through a safe, non-invasive technique known as apheresis, after which the cells quickly regenerate.
In 2011, a federal court ruled compensating donors of HSC by apheresis to be legal due to the procedure's comparability to plasma and whole blood donation. HRSA's rule change would supersede the court and violate congressional intent, thereby making compensation to all HSC donors illegal under the National Organ Transplant Act. HRSA has until December 18th to move forward on its rule.