Benefits for Baby: Delayed Cord Clamping and Skin-to-Skin Contact

How a baby is delivered is one of the most important choices a woman can make for her pregnancy. When both a surrogate and an intended parent are involved, these conversations are even more important. You’ll want to make sure the delivery process is one that both parties are comfortable with and does what is best for the baby.

One of the growing trends in modern deliveries is delayed cord clamping, in which the umbilical cord continues to provide blood and nutrients to a baby up to five minutes after he or she is born. But, when skin-to-skin contact between the baby, the surrogate and the intended parents is so important, this choice may initially seem to complicate things a bit.

Whether you are considering delayed cord clamping or want to learn more, you can find some useful information below.

Why Do Parents Choose to Delay Cord Clamping?

In the majority of births, medical professionals cut the umbilical cord shortly after the baby is delivered. This is often done to allow easier access to the baby for immediate cleaning, medical care and other services.

However, there’s a growing awareness about the potential risks of immediate cord clamping — and the benefits of delaying cord clamping.

The umbilical cord connects the baby to the placenta, the vital organ that provides nutrients while the baby is in the womb. When the baby is born, the placenta is still functioning as a blood circulatory organ. This means that about 1/3 of the baby’s blood is still in the placenta at the time of his or her birth. When the umbilical cord is immediately cut, that blood remains in the placenta (which is why people can donate or store placentas after birth). However, when medical professionals choose to delay cord clamping, all of that blood is able to return to the baby.

During this transfer — called “placental transfusion” — the umbilical cord provides the baby oxygen, nutrients, red blood cells, stem cells, immune cells and blood volume. If a cord is cut before these nutrients can be delivered, the baby is at greater risk for iron deficiency during the first six months of their life. This deficiency is in turn linked with neurodevelopmental delay.

To minimize these risks, and to provide the most benefits possible to their baby, more parents today are choosing to delay cord clamping upon the delivery of their child. If you are interested in this process, we encourage you to speak with your OBGYN to learn more.

How Will Delayed Cord Clamping Affect a Surrogacy Birth?

When delayed cord clamping first was studied, it was believed that a baby needed to be held at the height of the placenta in order for blood to continue being pumped and for maximum benefits to be had. Understandably, this put off some parents from this path, as it prevented the important skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth — not to mention the logistical issues of trying to hold a slippery newborn baby at placenta height after birth.

However, a new study reveals that there is no difference in what position a baby is held at during delayed cord clamping. This means that integral skin-to-skin contact is still possible during this process, which many parents should be thrilled to hear.

Skin-to-skin contact can be a bit complicated in surrogacy births. A baby must first confirm their senses by being placed on the surrogate’s skin, and then be physically transferred to the intended parents. One can see where the logistics of traditional delayed cord clamping might make that impossible. But, due to the new knowledge that a baby does not have to be held at placental height, these steps are still achievable in a surrogacy birth.

How Do I Decide Whether This is Right for Me?

As with any medical decision surrounding a baby’s birth, it’s important to speak with the obstetrician and the hospital staff overseeing the delivery. But, when you pursue delayed cord clamping with surrogacy, there is another party that must be involved: your surrogacy partner.

Both intended parents and their surrogate should be on the same page about the decision to delay cord clamping. Although there are very few risks associated with delayed cord clamping, it is still a decision regarding the surrogate’s body — so she should have just as much input as an intended parent does. Proper understanding of the pros and cons of this process is crucial before any decisions should be made.

If you are unsure of how to bring up the idea of delayed cord clamping to your surrogacy partner, remember that our surrogacy specialists can help. Your specialist can mediate this conversation and help you create a surrogacy birth plan that meets the needs of both surrogate and intended parents. Contact us today for more assistance.

Are IVF Babies Healthy When They Grow Up?

Despite its proliferation into the mainstream medical field in recent decades, assisted reproductive technology is still a fairly new way of building a family. Therefore, overreaching studies of the effects of the in vitro fertilization process are still few and far between. Sometimes, intended parents considering surrogacy or another ART procedure ask, “Are IVF babies as healthy as babies conceived naturally?”

A study published last year attempts to answer that question, with results indicating that there is really no difference between the health of babies conceived via IVF and those conceived in a traditional manner.

IVF Fertility recently reported on the study from Israel, which took into account more than 250 adolescents (aged 16 to 20) who were born via IVF between the years of 1982 and 1993. Medical professionals evaluated each person’s medical and mental health as part of their mandatory pre-draft military evaluation. They found some interesting things:

  1. Adolescents conceived through IVF had a lower rate of discharge from military service for health reasons than children conceived traditionally. When they were exempt from service, it was typically for personality disorders and behavior, rather than serious medical issues like those in the control group.
  2. IVF individuals scored slightly higher in cognitive function.
  3. Multiples (like twins and triplets) born through ART methods had significantly lower body mass indexes than ART singletons or the comparison population.
  4. IVF adolescents had significantly more doctor’s appointments than the control group, although it was unclear whether this was due to more medical issues or just having parents who more regularly sought medical attention.

While there were certainly limitations to the study, it seems to indicate that children born via IVF and other ART methods are typically just as healthy as those conceived naturally.

As always, the experience and professionalism of a fertility clinic will play a key role in a safe and healthy embryo transfer, just as prenatal care and medical attention will increase the likelihood of a healthy child born via surrogacy or another ART method. Therefore, it’s important that all intended parents do diligent research to seek out a fertility clinic that’s right for them and can provide the professional services they need.

The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy can always provide references to fertility specialists for intended parents like you, based on your personal preferences and family-building goals. To learn more today, please contact us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).