Do It Yourself
If you'd like to donate your newborn's umbilical cord but aren't giving birth at a hospital that accepts donations, you can send it in free. Cryobanks International, a cord-blood storage company that handles both publicly donated and privately stored units, accepts donations anywhere in the country from new parents who register before the 35th week of pregnancy. You have to fill out some forms and get your obstetrician to agree to collect and bag the cord. Cryobanks will then send you a collection kit. After you deliver, a courier will come to the hospital to pick up the cord. Information is available at (800) 869-8608 or www.cryo-intl.com/enroll_donate2.html.
This story appears in the May 21, 2007 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.