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Footballers harvest babies for stem cell 'repair kits'

But what do the WAGs think?

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Premiership footballers have apparently swapped their copies of The Beano for Nature and jumped on the stem cell bandwagon.

The Sunday Times reported this weekend that the overpaid sportsmen are having their newborns' umbilical cords cryogenically frozen in a bid to preserve cells they could later use to repair their knackered knees.

One unnamed footballer told the paper: "As a footballer, if you're prone to injury it can mean the end of your career, so having your stem cells — a repair kit if you like — on hand makes sense."

Very early research has suggested stem cells could be used to encourage repair in the knee. It's thought cells from a patient's own bone marrow are a more likely candidate, however. Either way, the field is many years away from offering any useful treatment.

Paul Griffiths, managing director of Liverpool-based CryoGenesis International, which claims to have frozen the umbilical cords of five footy sprogs, said: "The stem cells are injected directly into the knee and because they have the same genetic code they start rebuilding."

Which is not exactly true, of course. Only half a baby's nuclear DNA will come from its father. Though if the goings-on on defunct ITV trashfest Footballer's Wives bear any relation to reality, even that's got to be in some doubt. ®

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