When you complete your preadmission paperwork, don't be surprised if you're asked what you want to do with your newborn's cord blood. Cord blood is jammed with valuable cells called stem cells that can be used in transplants for diseases like leukemia and that may one day play a role in "building" new tissue. You can store the blood at a private cord blood "bank," where it will be available for your family only; or you can donate it to a public cord blood bank, which matches stem cells to patients who need transplants. If you choose the latter, the cord blood will not be available to you in the future if you or someone in your family needs it. A major issue is cost; private cord blood banks charge about $2,000 for collection and about $125 a year for storage. Public banks charge nothing for collection or storage. Visit www.cordblood.org to help you understand cord blood banking.
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