Cord blood banking involves collecting the blood from your baby's umbilical cord after delivery. According to OB/GYN Hampton B. Richards of Forest Park Medical Center in Dallas, the blood is collected immediately after the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, while you're waiting to deliver the placenta.
"The blood has stem cells in it, which we have used in studies to heal damaged tissue," he explains, pointing to the potential for cord blood to heal heart disease, brain injuries and organ damage. "Proponents argue that infantile stem cells are the most potent that we will ever have. Dissidents state that there are other sources of stem cells that may work just as well," he says. Either way, it's a costly investment: Richards says you can expect to pay $1,500 to $2,000, and then around $150 annually as a storage fee.