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Collecting Cord Blood

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Collecting Cord BloodCord blood is collected after the birth of a newborn but prior to the delivery of the placenta. Cord blood collection is safe and painless. A rare, but potential concern regarding the collection of a newborn's cord blood is early clamping of the umbilical cord. Early clamping of the umbilical cord can decrease the amount of blood available to the newborn, potentially leading to anemia.

Prior to the birth of your baby, talk with your physician/midwife about your decision to store your baby's cord blood. Some practitioners may charge a fee to collect cord blood, so be sure to ask about this during your discussion. You will need to obtain a collection kit from the cord blood banking facility of your choice (private or public bank) and bring the kit with you when it is time to have your baby. Some facilities do have collection kits on hand in case you decide last minute or forgot your kit at home.
How is cord blood collected? 
  • Once your baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut.
  • The cord blood is then collected from the umbilical vein prior to the delivery of the placenta (the 3rd and final stage of labor). Cord blood must be collected within 15 minutes after childbirth and usually only takes a few minutes to collect.
  • Collection can occur using either a syringe to remove the blood from the umbilical vein (syringe method) or by allowing the blood to drain by gravity into a collection bag (bag method). The facility will determine how your practitioner will collect the cord blood.
  • Once the umbilical cord has been collected, a medical courier will take the specimen to the facility’s laboratory to process, test and freeze (cryopreserve) the blood. The specimen must be processed by the lab within 48 hours of collection.
  • Cord blood is analyzed to ensure a large enough sample of stem cells has been obtained. The blood is tested for the presence of any infectious disease. Testing will also include HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigens) typing which is used to find an immunological match to decrease the risk of rejection (known as graft versus host disease--GVHD). There are 6 major HLA antigens. The higher the number of matches between donor and recipient, the lower the chances of rejection. HLA type is inherited therefore family members are a good match.
Not sure what the difference is between public banks and private banks? Learn more here...
American Academy of Pediatrics- Section on Hematology/Oncology and Section on Allergy/Immunology. Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation. PEDIATRICS Vol. 119 No. 1 January 2007, pp. 165-170.
American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) COMMITTEE REPORT: Collection and Preservation of Cord Blood for Personal Use
Kurtzberg, J. et al. Untying the Gordian knot: policies, practices, and ethical issues related to banking of umbilical cord blood. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2005 October 1; 115(10): 2592–2597.
Rabe H, Reynolds GJ, Diaz-Rosello JL. Early versus delayed umbilical cord clamping in preterm infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD003248. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003248.pub2.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Donating Umbilical Cord Blood to a Public Bank
Weeks, A. Umbilical cord clamping after birth. BMJ. 2007 August 18; 335(7615): 312–313

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