Although the use of embryonic stem cells to treat disease has caused much controversy, one type of stem cell treatment has slowly and steadily shown promise but has not engendered negative ethical media attention: the use of umbilical stem cells. Umbilical cord blood (UCB) contains stem cells that have already successfully treated a variety of diseases, including leukemias, lymphomas, hemoglobinopathies, immunodeficiencies, and disorders of metabolism; ongoing research continues to explore additional diseases for potential treatment. Cord blood can be stored in private banks or public banks. Private cord blood banks save cord blood for use by the family only, at a cost. Public cord blood banks accept donations and the cord blood is then used for the general public and/or research. A review of the literature finds that public banking is the preferred recommendation over private unless there is a known family member with a disease that can currently be treated with cord blood. This article discusses cord blood banking options as well as the ethical issues and barriers facing both healthcare providers and patients when dealing with cord blood banking.