The Necessary Question of Infants’ Human Rights at Birth: Are There Vampires in the Birth Rooms?
To parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, families, midwives, doulas, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and legislators: We are birthkeepers. It is our responsibility to ask the next question concerning human rights in childbirth. As birthkeepers, it is we who are given the sacred responsibility to protect mothers and their incoming humans, the newborns, at birth and as they grow, for they are the future earthkeepers.
Are we allowing our health providers to rob our babies of their full potential of health, intelligence, immunity and longevity at birth?
According to the American Red Cross, blood donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old in most states and weigh at least 110 lbs (50 kg). In Germany, children under the age of 18 are not eligible to donate blood. Blood donations are generally no more than 500 ml, which is 1/10 of the average adult blood volume. Clearly, newborn babies do not fit these criteria for donating blood.
At the time of birth, up to one-third of each baby’s blood supply is traveling from the placenta via the umbilical cord to the baby. Calling this blood “cord blood” is doublespeak and creates intentionally ambiguous language that is meant to fool parents into misunderstanding. The fact is that the blood present in the umbilical cord at the time of birth is truly the baby’s blood.
All over the world, in nearly every single medical institution where babies are born, newborns (usually weighing only between 2 and 5 kilos or 4.4 to 11 lbs) are being denied up to one-third of their blood volume. This happens when the umbilical cord is immediately clamped and cut by the doctor or midwife moments after the baby is born. Parents are encouraged to donate their baby’s “cord blood,” which in actuality is the baby’s blood. Although it may be a generous gift for someone who needs a transfusion, this precious blood supply is meant for the baby and should not be given away or sold.
At the moment of birth, newborn infants have a blood volume of approximately 78 ml/kg, which means about 273 ml at an average weight of 3.5 kg. This is the diminished amount of blood that almost all newborns are left with when their umbilical cords are immediately clamped and cut.