One reason I am passionate about the benefits of public cord banking is that I owe my daughter’s life to a public cord bank.

At the age of 2 months, my first child, Rose, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. A stem cell transplant was our only hope of saving her life. My wife and I debated the pros and cons of unrelated cord vs. unrelated adult marrow (or peripheral blood stem cells). Further complicating the process was Rose’s mixed ethnicity: My wife is Irish and I’m Mexican. It would not be easy finding a human leukocyte antigen match for Rose.

At the time of her transplant in 1997, only about 100 infant cord transplants had been done in the world. We consulted several transplant centers and visited a few of them. Fortunately, the center we chose, Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, had done several, and the transplant director, Morris Kletzel,...

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