Umbilical Cord Resources

Umbilical Cord Resources

To view the Umbilical Cord Testing Panels and Collection Instructions, click here.

Umbilical Cord Videos

Targeted vs. Universal Umbilical Cord Collection

Watch Video

CCDG Presentation

Watch Video

The Impact of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome on One West Virginia Community by Dr. Loudin

Watch Video

The Importance of Following Forensic Principles in Newborn Drug Testing by Dr. Irene Shu

Watch Video

Umbilical Cord Drug Testing: A Discussion of Prevalent Issues

Watch Video

Umbilical Cord Collection Training Video

Watch Video

USDTL Live episode 2 CordStat Origin with Dianne Montgomery

Watch Video

Why Test For Designer Stimulants ("Bath Salts") in Umbilical Cord

Watch Video

View All Videos

Umbilical Cord Infographics

View All Infographics

Umbilical Cord Articles

Real Time Data 03-Aug-2015

A Moment In Time 02-Feb-2015

Lost Opportunities 02-Feb-2015

View All Articles 

USDTL Umbilical Cord Research

View All USDTL Research

Umbilical Cord Poster Presentations

View All Poster Presentations

USDTL Umbilical Cord Assisted Research

View All USDTL 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

View All Slide Presentations

Umbilical Cord Announcements

Report Change Notification Report Change Notification


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.

USDTL is now ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited USDTL is now ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited


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.

Improved Screening Assay For Buprenorphine in Umbilical Cord Improved Screening Assay For Buprenorphine in Umbilical Cord


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.

View All Announcements

Umbilical Cord FAQs

*Click the green and white plus sign beside each question to view the answer.

Can a hair test be manipulated by the donor?

Yes. Bleaching, perming, dyeing and straightening can affect the outcome of a hair test. Cosmetically treated hair should not be collected.

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 USDTL's Umbilical Cord Test use umbilical cord blood or umbilical cord tissue?

Umbilical Cord Testing uses 6 inches of umbilical cord tissue that and has a window of detection up to approximately 20 weeks prior to birth. Umbilical cord blood has the same blood drug detection window as standard blood drug tests, up to approximately 2-3 days prior to collection.

Note: Testing the direct ethyl alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol (PEth) in newborn blood (via heel stick with a dried blood spot card) has a window of detection up to approximately 2-4 weeks prior to collection due to the unique half-life of PEth in the blood. PEth testing is not available in umbilical cord tissue. Visit our newborn PEth testing page for more information.

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 long does the laboratory keep remaining specimens?

Generally, negative specimens are kept for 7 days, and confirmed positive specimens are kept for 1 year.

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, or frozen (< -10° C) for up to 1 year.

Is umbilical cord genetically fetal tissue or tissue of the mother?

The fetus generates umbilical cord during the first five weeks, therefore, it is fetal tissue.

The umbilical cord was fixed in formalin. May it still be used for the Umbilical Cord Testing?

No, Umbilical cord tissue testing has not been validated for tissues that have been fixed in formalin. Specimens that arrive to the laboratory fixed in formalin are rejected for testing.

What is the window of drug exposure for drugs of abuse in meconium and umbilical cord tissue and why?

The detection window for most drugs of abuse in meconium and umbilical cord tissue testing is up to approximately 20 weeks prior to birth. Meconium begins to accumulate in the fetal gut near mid-term of the pregnancy. Prior to this time frame there is no meconium to trap the drug or drug metabolites. The umbilical cord tissue cutoffs were selected to emulate the positivity rate of meconium through side-by-side studies inferring a similar detection window.

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 tissue testing is groundbreaking in newborn toxicology because it solves several problems:

  • Every newborn has an umbilical cord; meconium is not available for testing; meconium is not obtainable for every birth and may only be available in small quantities.
  • Umbilical cord tissue 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 tissue testing improves turnaround time (TAT) because umbilical cord is ready for transport a few minutes after birth, while meconium passages can be delayed for days before being sent to the lab.

View All FAQs

contact USDTL


Newsletters, Posters, and Catalogs

Our print materials will keep you up to date on the latest news in drug and alcohol testing.

Request Literature

Request Your Collection Supplies

For your convenience, USDTL provides test collection supplies at no additional charge.

Order Supplies


View Resources