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Blood from the umbilical cord and placenta is special because it has a large number of blood-forming cells. These cells might be life-saving for someone who has a disease such as leukemia, or lymphoma, or certain inherited metabolic or immune system disorders. An umbilical cord blood transplant, like a bone marrow transplant (also called a BMT), takes the place of a patient's diseased cells with healthy cells.
The umbilical cord is routinely thrown away after the baby is born—unless the parents are able to do something else. Today, expectant parents may have the blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta collected and:
If you are an expectant parent, talk with your doctor about the choices that may be available to you. By making this decision, you can have the umbilical cord blood collected and possibly give someone another chance at life.
To help understand options for umbilical cord blood, read policy and opinion statements from medical organizations.