South Africa (SA) faces a large unmet need for bone marrow (BM) transplantation, which could be alleviated in part by establishing a public umbilical cord blood stem cell bank (UCB SCB). Umbilical cord blood is an increasingly utilised source of hematopoietic stem cells for BM transplantation in addition to BM or mobilized peripheral blood stem cells. Establishing a public UCB SCB would therefore be a positive step towards improving the quality of health care in SA by providing for an important unmet need. This study takes the form of an enquiry into the acceptability of establishing a public bank through an interview with and questionnaire completed by mothers-to-be in the antenatal clinic of a large public hospital in SA. Initial results are positive, with 85 % of the participants in favour of establishing a public UCB SCB in SA. This initial probe will serve as a model for a more comprehensive national enquiry into public support and acceptability in different clinics, hospitals and provinces in SA.