Delayed Clamping and Cord Blood Banking: A Parent’s Guide

How you can delay umbilical cord clamping and bank your baby’s cord blood

 Americord Registry, a leader in the advancement of umbilical cord bloodcord tissue and placenta tissue banking, today announced continued support for parents that elect to delay cord clamping and bank cord blood. According to Americord there is little impact on the ability to collect cord blood when parents choose to delay the clamping of the umbilical cord. While a growing number of expecting parents have been learning more about the option to delay clamping of their baby’s umbilical cord, many have also been misinformed that they must choose between delayed clamping and cord blood banking.  Both actions provide important value to parents and baby and are not incompatible with one another.

The placenta and umbilical cord can contain up to 200 ml of blood, which contains hematopoietic stem cells as well as important reserves of iron for the infant. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, roughly 20-40 ml of blood can ‘pulse’ from the placenta to the newborn during birth, carrying iron along with it, which is important for the baby because it helps to prevent anemia during infancy. According to a study conducted by UC Davis at a large obstetrics hospital in New Mexico, a two minute delay in umbilical cord clamping increases a child’s iron reserves by 27-47mg of iron, which is equivalent to roughly two months of infant iron requirements. This could help to prevent iron deficiency in newborns until about 6 months of age.

Current industry benchmarks for cord blood collections are a minimum of 100 million cells. Given the amount of blood likely to flow out of the placenta at the time of birth, there is typically plenty to be stored for later use. Delayed clamping can provide important value to the baby immediately, and stem cells from cord blood can provide long-term protection. To date, more than 80 diseases have been treated using cord blood stem cells, and they have also be used in transplant medicine in lieu of a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. Growing evidence supports the fact that parents can both delay clamping and store stem cells from cord blood, without choosing one over the other.

In a statement, Americord CEO Martin Smithmyer said, “It is exciting to see the growing evidence that expecting parents can both delay clamping and bank their baby’s cord blood. We are happy to say that, with Americord, we have seen little negative impact on cord blood banking from delayed cord clamping.” Americord’s collection policy further supports parents interested in delayed clamping. With Americord, if a collection falls below the industry benchmark, parents are given the option to store their cord blood, and are not charged if they decide not to store. Americord supports those parents who elect to delay the clamping of their baby’s umbilical cord.

This original statement can be read here

Here is a list of things you should do if you plan to both donate or bank cord blood and encapsulate your placenta: 

  • Inform both your placenta specialist AND the donation or banking team that you plan to do both BEFORE you go into labour.
  • Prepare TWO containers:
    • One for your placenta, labeled with the standard label given to you by your PE Specialist
    • One for your cord, to be given to the cord blood collection team or staff, label with your name and a label stating ‘CORD BLOOD SAMPLE – YOUR NAME’
  • Ask your midwife help you achieve both goals, she should assist you by separating your cord from your placenta with scissors and place both cord and placenta in your chosen containers.
  • Give the cord sample in its container to your midwife or cord blood collection team.
  • Safely store your placenta in your cooler bag with ice packs and keep with your other belongings and get in touch with your placenta specialist. Do not allow anyone to tamper with your placenta as this increases the risk of contamination.