Is There Any Risk to the Mother or Baby when you Save Umbilical Cord Blood?
Cord blood collection is safe and easy. The procedure will not interfere with birth or initial bonding and can be performed in both vaginal and cesarean births. If you are concerned that cord blood collection may pose a risk to mother or baby, it may be helpful to understand exactly how it is collected. There are two methods of cord blood collection: the gravity bag method and the syringe method. Though most physicians prefer the gravity bag, both collection methods are safe for mother and baby.
After your baby is born, your doctor or midwife will sterilize a small portion of the umbilical cord. If the company you chose utilizes the gravity bag method, your healthcare professional will then insert the blood bag needle into the umbilical vein. Gravity drains the blood from the umbilical vein into the blood bag, and when it stops flowing, the collection is complete. This method will probably take about 5 minutes from start to finish.
If the company you chose employs the syringe collection method, the cord will be cut and clamped and the blood will be drawn out of the umbilical vein using an empty syringe. In both of these methods, the collection should not interfere with your delivery in any way because the cord blood is collected after your baby is born and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Before it was known that cord blood contained life-saving stem cells, this blood was thrown away with the umbilical cord.
If you would like to wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsing before it is clamped and cut, be sure to speak with your doctor or midwife. Cord blood collection is about collecting what is “left over” in the cord.
You should also be aware that licensed blood banks will also require that a maternal blood sample be sent along with the cord blood for testing purposes. This is a routine blood draw which should take about 3 minutes and is the only uncomfortable part of the entire procedure!