Cord 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.
- 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.
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST