The first successful cord blood transplant was reported in 1989. In the last sixteen years, there has been a substantial increase in the use of cord blood as an alternative stem cell source for patients without matched related or unrelated bone marrow donors. Approximately 5000 cord blood transplants have been performed worldwide. Recently, the results in adult cord blood transplantation appear promising. In this review, the preclinical background, cord blood banking, and ethical issues will be briefly addressed. Outcome data for both pediatric and adult transplantation will be reviewed, with an emphasis on new strategies for adult cord blood transplantation. New indications for cord blood use outside of hematology/oncology will also be explored.