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(Luis Romero)
(Luis Romero)

The newest shower gift? Blood. Add to ...

So, you've been invited to a baby shower but your expectant friends already own a Bugaboo stroller, a Bumbo and a closet full of babyGap.

Why not give the gift that keeps on giving: a shot at future life-saving medical intervention.

A U.S.-based company that stores umbilical cord blood has introduced a gift registry.

"That's right ... instead of yet another blanket or another toy, expectant parents can ask family and friends to donate to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for their baby!" reads a press release sent out by Cord Blood Registry.

The company, which also has Canadian clients, charges about $2,000 to store the material.

Over the past few years, private companies have encouraged parents to store their child's umbilical blood in the hope that the stem cells it contains will some day be useful in case of a disease or spinal injury. But some critics have suggested that the industry is exploiting parental fears by promoting a future cure that has yet to be proven medically viable.

There are only a few private cord blood banks in Canada, in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta. Clients are charged about $1,000 plus annual storage fees.

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