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Can I have delayed cord clamping and still collect cord blood?

You can delay cord clamping if you are storing cord blood privately for your family, but if you plan to donate cord blood then it is not advisable to delay cord clamping.

The goal of delayed cord clamping is to allow some of the blood in the umbilical cord to flow into the newborn. This is most likely to happen in the first 30-60 seconds after birth. Waiting beyond that point will not add significantly to the blood volume that the newborn receives, but will significantly decrease your ability to get a cord blood collection. As the blood flow in the umbilical cord slows down the blood starts to clot, making it difficult to collect the cord blood.

It is a fact of nature that delayed cord clamping results in smaller cord blood collections. That is OK in a family banking setting, where the bank is not imposing a strict volume limit to store the collection. It is also OK for therapies that do not require high stem cell counts. For example, delayed clamping would be fine if you are concerned about saving stem cells to protect your newborn against cerebral palsy or autism, but delayed cord clamping could be a problem if you are trying to get enough stem cells for a transplant of an older sibling.

Public cord blood banks have a minimum size requirement for storage of cord blood donations. When cord clamping is delayed beyond 60 seconds the volume of cord blood collected drops seven fold and only a few percent of cord blood collections qualify for donation to a public bank.


Delayed clamping of the umbilical cord after delivery and implications for public cord blood banking. Allan DS et al. Transfusion. Mar 2016; 56(3):662-5. doi: 10.1111/trf.13424
Timing of Umbilical Cord Clamping and Impact on Cord Blood Volume Collected for Banking. Rodica Ciubotariu, MD PhD, Dec. 2016 Parent's Guide to Cord Blood newsletter