There are two types of blood banks – public and private. Private blood banks are available to families for an annual fee. Any mother that meets the criteria may donate cord blood to a public blood bank. Public blood banks store cord blood for patients in need of a transplant. Private blood banks store cord blood for your use only. Most donations are not useful for long-term treatments and are discarded or used for research. While a donation can save a life, you may not retrieve stem cells for your family if you need them. Parents own the cord blood until the baby turns 18. The child, a sibling, or another close family member may use stored cord blood when needed.