Newborn Drug Testing Lab

Umbilical Cord Tissue Drug Testing

Like meconium, the umbilical cord tissue belongs to the baby, so there are no issues testing it, and no need for mom's permission. It’s available immediately for 100% of births and needs only 1 collection by 1 collector. This saves time and money, but it also gets the specimen to the lab quicker, so turnaround time is much shorter. The look back is 20 weeks with up to a 15-drug panel option, and alcohol and heroine detection that is superior to any other newborn specimen on the market.

Targeted Collection
Collection of the umbilical cord ONLY if the mother meets the hospital’s conditions for determining a potentially exposed newborn. Click here to view the targeted collection instructions. Click here to view the targeted collection instruction slides.

Universal Collection
Collection and short-term storage of the umbilical cord on ALL newborns. Umbilical cord is sent to the laboratory if the mother meets the hospital’s conditions for determining a potentially exposed newborn, or if the newborn shows signs or symptoms of withdrawal. If neither criteria is met, the umbilical cord is discarded. Click here to view the universal collection procedure instructions. Click here to view the universal collection procedure slides. Click here to download a copy of the Universal Umbilical Cord Collection Log.

Umbilical cord specimens can be submitted only through hospital or health system accounts.

Drug Panels

  • 15 Panel
  • 14 Panel
  • 13 Panel
  • 12 Panel
  • 9 Panel
  • 7 Panel
  • 5 Panel
amphetamine, MDA, MDEA, MDMA, methamphetamine
6-MAM, meconin, codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine
phencyclindine (PCP)
EDDP, methadone
amobarbital, butalbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, secobarbital
alprazolam, diazepam, midazolam, nordiazepam, oxazepam, temazepam
propoxyphene, norpropoxyphene
oxycodone, oxymorphone
meperidine, normeperidine
buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine
methylone, mephedrone, ethylone, 4-fluoromethcathinone, methedrone, methcathinone
*Click the green and white plus sign beside each drug class to view the substances within each class.
Add-Ons Available
EtG (Direct Ethanol Biomarker)
ethyl glucuronide


Collection Instructions
Client Services

By Phone: 1.800.235.2367

Business Hours (CST)

Monday 6am - 8pm
Tuesday 6am - 8pm
Wednesday 6am - 8pm
Thursday 6am - 8pm
Friday 6am - 8pm
Saturday 8am - 5pm

Contact Client Services

Testing Details

Panel Name: Umbilical Cord Testing

Panel Description: Umbilical Cord Testing Drug Panel

Type: Profile

Matrix: Umbilical Cord

Collection Container: Leakproof Polypropylene

Sample Amount: 6-8 inches

Storage Conditions: Refrigerated

Transport Conditions: Ambient

Method: Initial screen and confirmation

Turnaround Time: Generally, the standard turnaround time for reporting negative screening test results is the next business day, with an additional 1-2 business days for specimens that require confirmatory testing. Turnaround time begins from receipt of the valid specimen –accompanied by a properly documented valid order– into the laboratory. Some tests require additional time to process and will fall outside the standard turnaround time window.

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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.

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