Safe sampling of cord blood can reduce the risk of exposure to infectious agents by obstetric personnel. We developed a new device for collecting umbilical cord blood. Using a modified closed-cup instrument, gravity drainage within the sealed device allows for guarded-needle vacuum tube blood collection. The mean (tandard deviation) volume of blood collected with the device was 6.1 .1 mL. Adding heparin into the device increased the volume collected by approximately 2 mL. The diameter and length of the cord were also related to the amount obtained. Only two of 122 samples (1.6%) had less than 1 mL of blood. The introduction of a closed container, umbilical cord sampling device offers a clear potential for risk reduction, particularly the risk of needle-stick injuries but also direct blood contamination. The device is simple to use, offers easy and safe disposal, and can be operated by physicians or nurses. © 1995 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.