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"The umbilical cord, the source of nutrients and oxygen for babies in the womb, contains stem cells, immature cells that have the potential to grown into other types of cells such as muscle or bone. These stem cells have attracted the attention of researchers as a lifesaving resource for transplantation in patients with leukemia and other conditions. Matching the donor to the recipient does not have to be as precise when using cord blood as it does when using bone marrow, so the chances of finding a suitable donor are increased; because of the immaturity of stem cells in cord blood, patients are less likely to reject transplanted blood cells; and if the stem cells are reintroduced into the same person they came from, there's no chance of rejection. Many parents have banked the blood from their newborns' umbilical cord as a kind of insurance should the need arise for a transplant or other use of stem cells. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about the use of
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Cord blood banking is unnecessary -- and costly -- for most families, experts say.
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