Moms Donate Umbilical Cord Blood With New Kits Pilot program gets it into public donor banks By John Johnson, Newser Staff Suggested by Altoecko Posted Jul 27, 2010 2:40 PM CDT 17 comments Comments A pilot program aims to make it easier for new moms to donate umbilical cord blood to public banks. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – A new movement is afoot to save and store potentially life-saving umbilical cord blood and make it available to the public, Time reports. Under a pilot program in Texas and North Carolina, new moms bring a kit to the hospital that doctors use to collect the blood and send it on to donor banks. The hospital and the banks split the cost of the procedure. It would be available to anyone who is a close enough match. Cord blood is a valuable source of stem cells, and doctors are just beginning to explore the possibilities of using it to treat everything from heart attacks to cancer to diabetes. The problem is that under current practice, nearly all of it gets thrown away. Some families use private banks to save cord blood for their own potential use, at a cost of about $2,500 plus yearly maintenance fees. The federal pilot program seeks to make it more widely available to all.