Delayed cord cutting and cord blood donation

Ok, after posting my birth plan I received some comments that made me want to do more research (you people are adding to my to-do list, thanks very much! haha).

I don’t do well with news articles or websites with an agenda. I want unbiased information. I tried to research these issues with articles published in scientific journals (it’s the science nerd in me)–not to say that those can’t be biased too, but much less so, I think.

**With that being said, if you’d like to share your opinion I welcome the comments, but please do not attack us for our decisions. I’d welcome articles to read and scientific information. However, if you personally attack us and claim we must not love our baby, I will not be able to take anything else you say seriously. Thanks :)**

Delayed cord cutting:
I originally thought this was something I wanted to do, but later changed my mind and thought it was unnecessary (in part because the nurse at our birthing class said so).

Benefits: more iron to baby = higher hemoglobin at the start of life, less anemia, etc.
Risks: only if there are issues with the baby that need to be taken care of right away, possible increased incidence of jaundice

Our choice: to delay cord cutting as long as possible (until pulsation stops) if baby is born prematurely. Otherwise, hold off on cutting the cord for about 1 minute after birth (compared to the average 17 seconds).

Why: I feel like this is a compromise. From what I read, 1 minute is at least better than the average 17 seconds, but not so long to possibly cause other problems or interfere with what needs to be done. Any why compromise? It seems like the main benefits to delayed cord cutting are for preemies or babies with difficult births. Plus, the iron deficiency is usually an issue only for “poor and minority groups.”  Either way, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of definitive science (is that an oxymoron?) on this issue.

FYI: If this applies to you, you may want to know that you can’t donate or store cord blood AND delay cord clamping/cutting. Which brings me to the next point…

Cord Blood Donation:

It’s free if your doctor is willing to do it–some may ask to be paid for it. However, your hospital needs to be connected with a cord blood bank and… ours is not. Actually, none of the 3 hospitals in my city are. If your hospital doesn’t either, there are a few things you can do:

–Find a nearby hospital that does or a cord blood bank and contact them to see if you can still donate
–Ask your hospital if they’ll collect it for research purposes (then at least it’s being used for something!)
–Register with Cryobanks International–they accept blood from anywhere. If your doctor agrees to collecting, your cord blood is shipped to them.

Why aren’t we using Cryobanks International? I looked into it. You have to register, with signatures from your doctor, BY THE END OF WEEK 34. That’s exactly where I am right now, so we’re just a little late. Also, like I said above, you can’t do this AND delay cord cutting.

I was going to discuss circumcision and vaccines, but this post is long enough. Those topics will come next.

7 comments to Delayed cord cutting and cord blood donation

  • Thanks for the link to Cryobanks Int’l! I had looked into donating my baby’s cord blood, but the public facility here will only collect it from three hospitals and I’m not giving birth at any of them. I was really sad it was going to go to waste, but now I’m hopeful! I’m only 21-1/2 weeks along, so I’ve got plenty of time to get the forms filled out.


    Baby Dickey Reply:

    Good luck! They have some requirements (no tattoos in the last year, etc) and I should mention that if you give birth on the weekend, they can’t take your blood. I believe this is because they need to receive blood within 48 hours of it being collected. But it’s worth a try! 🙂


  • I know that your baby was already born by c-section, and so this is a moot point, but for future reference, some cord blood donation groups do not require immediate clamping. However, delayed clamping will reduce the size of the donation and make it more likely to fall into the 75% of donations which are discarded as unusable.

    Another 2 points in response to your comment about research on cord blood: “then at least it’s being used for something!” First, some people may want to really think about WHAT the research companies will do with these donations. If you are morally opposed to cloning or biological weapons, you might not want to contribute to those companies. You have NO rights to what happens to your baby’s cells after they are donated.

    Second, if allowed to transfuse into the baby, the cord blood WILL be used for something – to give baby the proper amount of blood volume! As you may have found in your research, there is no evidence to support premature cord clamping. It’s a hold-over from times when most babies were delivered with forceps while the mom was under general anesthesia, and the babies often emerged unresponsive. The cord had to be cut immediately to move the baby to another area to be resuscitated. No studies have conclusively shown that waiting to clamp the cord will actually increase jaundice, or that it would be dangerous for the baby if it did. Most doctors over-treat this normal condition.

    I hope this information might be useful to you if you have a successful VBAC with a future pregnancy, or for anyone else who is considering the question of “when to clamp?” and considering cord blood donation.


  • I have seen many health articles before on Stem cell research but unsure of it’s benefits.I am in India and not sure where I can have these collection and storage facility. Do you have any idea on Companies working on this front. This is one USA based concept and need the people worldwide to be informed.

    Thanks for your great work in promoting a new health revolution on Stem cell research. Please come up with another post if possible on Obama’s view on Stem cell funding.

    Best Regards,
    Puja from India


  • I am so grateful for your blog post.Thanks Again. Want more.


  • Thanks for making such a blog as it contains a lot of informations about stem cells.


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