Photo: Little Earthling Photography
In my doula practice I receive this question frequently. Nowadays, more parents are informed and aware that delayed cord clamping has many benefits for the newborn, it increases hemoglobin levels and can even prevent iron deficiency in the first year of life (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). But what if you want to save your newborn's blood for future disease treatments?
What is Cord Blood Banking? There are private and public facilities that save your newborn's cord blood, especially stem cells, so that life-threatening diseases can potentially be treated in the future.
However, a more accurate name is "stem cell banking" which immediately implies it is not about the quantity of the blood but the quality. They need to collect stem cells and immune system cells (white blood cells) in order for it to be useful for future treatments.
Do you need to shorten the clamping so that enough viable stem cells are left? A publicly funded Swedish study has shown that only after 120 seconds the TNC count (which is basically the white blood cells) would significantly diminish (Frandberg et al., 2016). Another Canadian study had a similar outcome, no delay in clamping would leave 39% of the white blood cells whereas delays longer than 120 seconds would leave 6.2% (Allan et al., 2016).
Sidenote: Cord Blood Bank facilities can go bankrupt and most of them don't guarantee that you either will get your money back or that stem cells can be transferred to another location.
💡Tip: certain cord blood bank facilities have more refined processing methods allowing for a longer delay. Always inquire with them what methods they use. Also, if delayed cord clamping is important to you, inform your care provider in advance on your preferred delay time. Some care providers will automatically cut it at 60 seconds if you don't instruct otherwise.