Stroke is a major cause of neurological disability across all countries in the world. Functional recovery after stroke is limited because of neuronal death and degeneration. Although early reperfusion therapy may improve outcome, thrombolysis does not reverse ischaemic neuronal death and carries the risk of cerebral haemorrhage. Early trials of stem cell therapy in promoting functional recovery after completed stroke remain inconclusive. Based on experimental data, we propose human umbilical cord blood transfusion as a possible therapy for ischaemic cerebral stroke to aid functional recovery.