More than 11,000 British parents have paid to freeze stem cells from the umbilical cords of their newborn babies in order to grow body parts if their child becomes ill.

Donald Gibb, a consultant obstetrician, fears that if he does not give his patients the option of storing their child’s stem cells they could later accuse him of denying them a cure.

The five best-known cord blood stem cell banks in Britain have collected between 700 and 4,500 samples each. They report annual sales increases of up to 200%. Parents pay about £1,400 to store the stem cells for 25 years.

Ballerina Darcey Bussell and footballer Thierry Henry are among celebrities who have stored their children’s cord blood stem cells.

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