I recently read an awesome article by one of my favorite childbirth blogs called Midwife Thinking’s Blog. The topic was called “Cord Blood Collection: Confessions of a Vampire-Midwife,” posted February 10, 2011.
It was well-timed since I just received an email from a Representative of Pacificord- Cord Blood Collection. Funny how they got my name and email? What was most interesting is his offer to give me (as a Doula) a $50 referral fee for every client I sent to them and booked an account. Wow! Now, I know this type of thing happens at doctors’ offices but this is the first time, as a doula, I have been approached and been offered CASH for referrals.
I am aware of doctors and hospitals receiving incentives for selling/recommending drugs or childbirth interventions but have never heard of doulas being approached. What happened to the doulas helping to be the Guardians of gentle birthing for moms and babies? I have to admit, for a quick second I thought, "Hmmm, who do I know that I can refer?" Then I quickly snapped myself back! But with such a generous referral incentive you can see how tempting it could be to pass along the Pacificord brochures.
Read The Midwife Thinking’s blog to learn more about the process of cord banking and the affect on baby. When you learn how much of the baby’s own blood volume is taken (about 1/3) it makes one really think hard about this topic of cord banking. The midwife further states, “I am not saying cord blood banking shouldn’t be an available option. All I am suggesting is that parents need adequate information before they make a decision to withdraw a significant amount of their baby’s blood volume. They need to be able to weigh up the definite benefits of full blood volume at birth vs a possible treatment for an unlikely future illness. Cord blood is baby’s blood.”
I have read literature on both sides of the fence about cord banking. Cord banking is still in its infancy (no pun intended) since the 1980s. And in 1992, the University of Arizona banked the first cord blood sample in the world specifically stored for family use. Other factors could affect one’s decision about cord banking such as family history of certain diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, leukemia, sickle cell anemia and type1 diabetes. The Thinking Midwife encourages parents to understand and be "... informed that cord blood collection requires premature cord clamping, and that the blood being collected belongs to their baby.”
Could our current practice of early cord clamping be depriving the baby a chance to a better start?
Here is another great article found in the British Medical Journal about the practice of early cord clamping. Dr. David J R Hutchon, retired consultant obstetrician, in England says, "I have always argued that applying a clamp to the cord is clearly an intervention, having the greatest effect when it is done quickly after birth." Early cord clamping has become so routine that we have forgotten to question its necessity. The practice of early cord clamping goes hand-in-hand with cord banking, unfortunately.
Cord blood is baby's blood to benefit from it NOW not frozen for the small probability of use later. It is ultimately the parents’ choice to make. So unless upon request, you won't see me passing out cord banking brochures lest I be called...the Vampire Doula : )
[Originally published December 1, 2012]