I really like this story about umbilical cord blood banking from ABC news: Umbilical Cord Cells: Godsend or Gimmick. I think it provides a practical approach to to the subject without being overly negative. I am very much in favor of cord blood banking, but I would not say that it is necessarily for absolutely everyone. First of all, it is very expensive and, as the story points out, it may not ever need to be used by the family. There may be different uses for it in the future, but right now it is primarily used as an alternative to bone marrow in patients with leukemia. So banking makes sense in families with ill siblings or a history of illness or leukemia. For those families without much of a medical history a better alternative would be cord blood donation which costs nothing and could help others in need.
Of course I would not discourage anyone from banking their own UBC blood. It has happened that the parents’ decision to bank their child’s cord blood has lead to a life saving miracle. Some consider it a sort of insurance policy, well worth the money. But for those who can’t afford it or for whom it may not be necessary, donation should also be considered.
As far as the question of whether UCB is a gimmick or a godsend I think the story answers it when it quotes Dr. Cladd Stevens: “There are people who are alive now who otherwise would’ve been dead if there hadn’t been a mother who donated their cord blood.”