DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) –  Parents may not know they have an alternative to costly private cord blood banks.

Like many parents who pay to save their children’s umbilical cord blood, Crystal Prince from the Montague County town of Sunset never imagined her cord blood bank would go out of business.

She also didn’t know there is another option- a public bank that store cord blood for free.

Doctor Joel Weinthal says the Texas Cord Blood Bank brings hope to parents who can’t afford a private bank or don’t want to take the risk.

The bank was set up by the Texas Legislature in 2007 for parents to help low income and minority patients who may need a match.

It’s a public bank. Any mom giving birth can donate her cord blood to it. Any patient needing stem cells can receive blood from it.

Doctor Weinthal enjoys showing pictures of a 2-year-old born with a fatal form of leukemia. That child is one of 132 patients who have now found a life-saving tissue match through the Texas Cord Blood Bank.

The only downside to a public bank is there is no guarantee a child will get his or her own blood if he or she needs it.

“Almost in every case we find an exact match for our patients, “ said Dr. Weinthal.

The service is offered to all parents delivering at Medical City Dallas Hospital, and parents can have kits sent to other hospitals in Texas. The cord blood is stored San Antonio, and already the State of Texas now has 10,000 units available to save lives.

MORE – Part One – Understanding The Benefits
MORE – Part Two – Searching For Answers
MORE – Part Four – A Follow Up