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Timing of Cord Clamping: A critical issue for major medical centers
Recently, Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation released a brochure on the time of clamping of the umbilical cord after the birth of the baby. This brochure is given to pregnant women and suggests clamping in the range of 30-60 seconds (quoting American College of Obstetrics Gynecology or ACOG) for full term babies.
Since the early beginning of cord blood banking there has been controversy over the appropriate time of clamping the umbilical cord after the birth of the infant. Some believed the cord should only be clamped after it stops pulsating (approximately 3 minutes), while others believed you should clamp the cord immediately (within seconds of birth) so the maximum amount of cord blood stem cells for transplantation may be obtained.
We believe that clamping the cord immediately is both morally and medically wrong. This method takes blood away from the infant. There is a concern that it could have a long-term unknown negative effect on the infant donor. For eons of time, this blood has gone back into the baby.
From the early 1990’s until recently, major medical centers performed cord blood collection after immediate clamping. These institutions should have records of the babies from which the cord blood was collected with immediate clamping. It is their moral and medical responsibility to review these records and investigate what has happened to these infant donors. Did they develop diabetes, autism, etc.? It is incumbent on these medical institutions to review the health history of these donors and conduct a retrospective analysis for any morbidity that correlates with immediate cord clamping. It has been over 25 years since those infants had immediate clamping, and this may not be long-term, but could be indicative of a trend in morbidity.
We believe this is an emergency situation. It is incumbent on the medical institutions that delivered babies with immediate cord clamping to review their records and attempt to evaluate the morbidity of those infant donors.
- Karl Rhodes. University of Richmond Magazine. Joined at the Cord. Winter 2005
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