Originally Posted by thefreckledmama
Now it seems to me, that given the benefits that can come from the cord blood later on down the road, that it would be the most beneficial to delay clamping the cord, allowing the cord blood to reach the baby. This way their getting all the benefits of cord blood from the beginning (thus preventing future conditions?), rather than if/when there is a problem.
Does this make sense to anyone else? Does anyone know of any studies or information along these lines?
The specific benefit of cord blood as used by the banking industry are the stem cells. Stem cells are cells which can turn themselves into any kind of cell in the body--if there is a need for bone marrow cells, for example, the stem cells can turn into marrow cells. Most cells in the body are destined from the moment they are formed to be only one kind of cell, that is, a skin cell cannot be turned into a marrow cell. So in some illnesses where certain cells in the body are sick, stem cells can be used to replace the sick cells, thus curing the individual. It's a lot more complicated than this, obviously, but that is why cord blood is important for curing disease: it is one of the rare sources of stem cells. Thus it is not the blood which is important, but the stem cells found in the blood.
Unfortunately, many of the diseases which can be cured using stem cells are genetic diseases. The disease comes from a malfunction in the cell's DNA. All the cells in the body, including stem cells, have the same DNA. Therefore, in the case of genetic illness, it does absolutely no good to receive one's own stem cells, because those cells have the illness too. The stem cells used to cure the disease must come from an unaffected individual. This means that receiving one's own cord blood (and thus one's own stem cells) at birth does not do anything to prevent or cure any present or future genetic illness. This is why private cord blood banking is really only useful when there is a case involving siblings.
Please understand that this is all "generally speaking," that is, there are rare instances in which a person's own stem cells may be beneficial, and not all illnesses that can be helped by stem cells are genetic. But in the vast majority of cases, this is how it works. I hope this helps you understand a bit more about why and when cord blood is beneficial!