Why pregnant women should donate their placentas after birth -Expert reveals
By Rita Chioma
During his lecture at Ilorin, Dr Abudu Kunle of the Department of Histopathology, University of Uyo, Akwa-Ibom, charged pregnant women to donate their placentas for biomedical research.
According to him, the donated placentas would not only benefit medical research, but the findings would benefit other patients in need.
The Don explained that utilization of the human placenta in science and medicine was essential for advancing knowledge in the areas of reproductive medicine, immunology, stem cell research, genetics, cancer research and tissue engineering.
“In spite of these potential uses of the placenta, little is known about public perception regarding this practice in developing countries.
“Public perception about placenta donation for scientific research is influenced by interplay of the individual’s attitude, social structures, ethical paradigms, cultural practices, religious beliefs and the public understanding of science and medicine,’’ he said.
He further claimed that personal, socio-economic and cultural factors, especially in Africa undermine the willingness of mothers to freely donate their placenta for research purpose.
He said that a recent survey gave the assent rate at an abysmal 34.1 per cent the number of mothers who accepted to donate their placenta for research.
Kunle explained that research carried out in Benin, South-South Nigeria, indicated that mothers were afraid to donate their placentas because of fear of losing their babies destiny, as well as for religious and traditional beliefs.
According to him, the study revealed that socio-economic factors influencing perception of pregnant women towards placenta donation for biomedical research was education and enlightenment.
He said the common practice in Africa was to bury the placenta and cord in the ground either inside or behind the house or outside in the bush, while some people preferred to burn and throw the placenta into pit latrine.
Kunle, however canvassed good communication and public enlightenment for mothers and healthcare providers to correct the wrong to make bio-specimen research successful.