What is cord blood?
Cord blood refers to the blood in the umbilical cord and placenta following delivery.  Cord blood collection is easy and painless.  Cord blood contains stem cells (not embryonic stem cells) that are used to treat some illnesses including cancer.  Currently the odds of needing a stem cell transplant ranges from .01% to .5%.

What are cord blood banking options?
There are public and private cord blood banks available. Private banks store cord blood for directed donation (for your baby or family member).  The cost of storage is paid by parents/family.  Public cord blood banks collect donations for later use by anyone who needs it.  There are no fees to donate cord blood.  Nebraska does not have a public cord blood bank available; however, the National Marrow Donor Program is piloting a mail-in donation option.  This requires contacting a participating blood bank and registering to be a donor prior to 34 weeks gestation.  Donating to a public bank does require a screening process.  MD Anderson Center in Houston (mdanderson.org/cordblood/) is one of the public banks with a mail-in option.

For more information on cord blood banking options
www.acog.org (search for cord blood banking)