Umbilical Cord Resources
Umbilical Cord Resources
To view the Umbilical Cord Testing Panels and Collection Instructions, click here.
Umbilical Cord Videos
Umbilical Cord Infographics
Umbilical Cord Articles
Newborn Testing For Alcohol Biomarkers 11-Nov-2016
Who Cares About Chain of Custody? 11-Nov-2016
Breaking the Blood Barrier 01-Dec-2015
Real Time Data 03-Aug-2015
A Moment In Time 02-Feb-2015
Lost Opportunities 02-Feb-2015
Marijuana Use in Pregnancy 01-May-2013
Identifying Alcohol-Exposed Newborns 01-Oct-2012
Newborn Direct Ethanol Biomarker 01-Oct-2012
USDTL Umbilical Cord Research
Umbilical Cord Poster Presentations
The Collection of Umbilical Cord Blood on Filter Paper Cards for Detection of Phosphatidylethanol in Newborns at Risk for Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
An Evaluation of the Immunalysis Buprenorphine Direct ELISA Kits for the Detection of Buprenorphines in Umbilical Cord
Using Umbilical Cord Tissue to Detect Fetal Exposure to Illicit Drugs: A Multi-Centered Study in Utah and New Jersey
USDTL Umbilical Cord Assisted Research
Umbilical Cord Slide Presentations
Umbilical Cord Testing: A Discussion of Prevalent Issues
The Impact of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome on One West Virginia Community
The Importance of Following Forensic Principles in Newborn Drug Testing by Dr. Irene Shu
Umbilical Cord Announcements
Effective July 18, 2016, USDTL will be implementing a new way of reporting quantitative results. In order to satisfy accreditation requirement, the concentrations of drugs exceeding the Upper Limit of Quantification (ULOQ) for any given drug will be reported as > ULOQ (greater than ULOQ). The ULOQ will be provided.
We are proud to announce that we are the first laboratory in the world to be ISO/IEC 17025 accredited for drug and alcohol testing in umbilical cord, fingernail, and toenail specimens. On September 4, 2015, USDTL attained ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation showing full compliance with the international testing standards. We have received our accreditation from ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, demonstrating technical competence in the field of forensic testing. The scope of our ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation encompasses all specimen types and methods of analysis utilized in our laboratory.
USDTL has succeeded in improving their umbilical cord screening assay for buprenorphine by reducing the positive result cutoff from 1.0 ng/g down to 0.5 ng/g. The improved umbilical cord buprenorphine assay gives the best possible detection of buprenorphine exposure, making it possible to identify more newborns exposed to buprenorphine in utero.
Umbilical Cord FAQs
*Click the green and white plus sign beside each question to view the answer.
Can you test for alcohol exposure in umbilical cord?
Yes, alcohol exposure can be tested individually or by adding the Umbilical Cord Testing EtG add-on to any of the Umbilical Cord Testing drug panels. The EtG add-on screens for Ethyl Glucuronide, a direct alcohol biomarker, indicating exposure to ethanol (drinking alcohol).
Does Umbilical Cord Testing use umbilical cord blood or umbilical cord tissue?
Have results been used in court cases?
Yes, the analysis of a number of tissue types for the presence of drugs of abuse has been used in every state for decades. Specifically, our umbilical cord testing has been used to provide evidence of drug use by the mother in numerous states. Additionally, the detection of drug in umbilical cord was used as evidence of maternal drug consumption in a murder case in South Carolina and that interpretation was upheld on appeal to the SC Supreme Court.
How does using a forensic drug test help the child later in life?
There are several reasons detecting a substance exposed newborn is important. Early detection provides many more options than detection at a later stage in the child’s life, and
- Early detection of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effect (FAE) allow newborns to be identified and enrolled into early intervention and community programs. New programs are showing dramatic improvements in children identified earlier in life.
- Detection of a exposed child can allow help, intervention and treatment to be offered to the mother, so that exposure during future pregnancies may be prevented.
- As programs, understanding, and treatments improve, substance exposure detection, at a very early stage, can only help the outcome of the child, mother and family.
How long does the laboratory keep remaining umbilical cord tissue?
How should umbilical cord tissue be stored?
The sample is stable at room temperature for 7 days, can be refrigerated (2-8° C) for up to 3 weeks and frozen (< -10° C) up to 1 year.
If the quantity of drug or alcohol metabolite detected is high, could that be an indication that the donor (1) was consuming a large amount, (2) was using recently, or (3) was using frequently?
There are too many variables for anyone to know time of use, dosage, or frequency from the result(s) of a drug test. Reservoir matrices such as hair, fingernail, umbilical cord, and meconium continuously collect drug and alcohol biomarkers. This makes it difficult to determine specific details of use. Because the biomarker is collected over a period of time, the results represent total accumulation that cannot be pin-pointed to specific times/dates/dosages, etc.
Is umbilical cord genetically fetal tissue or tissue of the mother?
The umbilical cord was fixed in formalin. May it still be used for the Umbilical Cord Testing?
What is the window of drug exposure for umbilical cord?
When will I receive umbilical cord results?
|Test||Negative Result||Positive Result|
|Umbilical Cord Drug Panel||1 working day||2 working days|
|Umbilical Cord EtOH||2 working days||3 working days|
Why is Umbilical Cord Testing becoming the gold standard in newborn testing over meconium?
USDTL’s Umbilical Cord Testing is groundbreaking in newborn testing because it solves several problems:
- Every newborn has an umbilical cord; meconium is not available for every birth.
- Umbilical cord collection is a one-step procedure; meconium collection requires cumulative collections.
- Umbilical Cord Testing offers improved positivity rates for Methamphetamine, Benzodiazepines and Opiates.
- Umbilical Cord Testing improves the integrity of the chain-of-custody: only one donor and one collector are present during the collection. Meconium has multiple collections and multiple collectors.
- Umbilical Cord Testing improves turnaround time because umbilical cord is ready for transport a few minutes after the birth, while meconium passages can be delayed for days before being sent to the lab.
Why was one matrix positive and another negative on the same donor?
There are several explanations for this.
- Different sample matrices have different detection time frames. The result of any second collected specimen has no bearing on the validity of a first collected specimen. For example, a hair sample with a three month window of detection might test positive for a particular substance, while a urine sample from the same donor, with a 2-3 day window of detection, might test negative. In this case, the donor has used that substance within the past three months, but may not have used it within the most recent three days.
- The result of any second collected specimen has no bearing on the validity of a first collected specimen. Therefore, a negative result observed for the umbilical cord does not refute a positive result observed on the maternal urine specimen and the reverse is true as well. There are many legitimate reasons for discrepant urine and umbilical cord results.
- The urine specimen was a screen only result and was not confirmed using an appropriate mass spectrometric method. The screen only urine result is a clinically valid result, however, without an appropriate mass spectrometric confirmation, the urine result has no value in a forensic proceeding.
- Lastly, some placentas can prevent some compounds from reaching the fetus. There are documented cases of maternal ingestion without in utero exposure.
Why was the mother’s urine positive and the umbilical cord negative?
There are several explanations for this. Different specimen types have varying thresholds for positivity. For example, a single dose of methamphetamine 12 hours prior to collection is highly likely to produce a positive urine result, however less likely to generate a positive result for a specimen type with a longer detection window such as umbilical cord, meconium or hair.