Umbilical cord blood storage is a relatively new advancement (more about that later), but many Asian cultures have a tradition of keeping the stump of a baby's umbilical cord.
According to new mom Huileng's blog, grandparents in Singapore differ on both the reasons for keeping the thing (smarts vs protection and health) and the method of storing it (a little red pouch vs. that ancient Chinese secret, a ziploc bag).
While Singaporeans wait around for someone to tell them what to do, Korean parents are being bombarded with freewheeling capitalist solutions. Companies now offer to gold-plate and frame the stump for about $80, or to cast it in resin and turn it into a personal seal.
If hanging a shiny oversized booger on your wall is too weird for you, there's always the Korean custom of making a calligraphy brush from your kid's hair. Kinda puts the whole dog yarn finger puppet thing into perspective now, doesn't it?
Keep the umbilical cord stump [huileng's blog, via boingboing]
Gold-plated umbilical cord, framed, 85000 won [U&I Impressions, also via boingboing. the Google translation's entertaining, but utterly useless]
You Had WHAT Gold-plated? [Reuters.com]