We recently took some time to talk Future Health Biobank customer; Michelle Egan. Michelle lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with husband Stuart, her two beautiful children; Ethan and Bethan and her lovely Labrador Coco. Michelle used our umbilical cord stem cell collection service with daughter Bethan in January 2014.
How did you first hear about stem cell banking?
I first heard about stem cell banking from an article in a magazine back in 2010 when I was expecting my first baby. At the time it was too late to arrange the stem cell banking as I was just about to give birth. However, it inspired me to do some research and what I found was truly amazing, the work that can be done by banking a baby's cells is invaluable. Even though we didn’t have any family health issues, I knew at that moment that if there was even the smallest chance this could save my child's life if they were to get sick, it was extremely worth doing as no one knows what the future holds.
Why have you chosen to store your umbilical cord stem cells?
Once I'd done my research I decided this was the right option for us, mainly because I wanted to be sure that I’d given my children a fighting chance if they were to ever get sick. I think this is the best possible gift you could give a child. And even though I missed out with my first born, I know that there is a possibility that my daughter’s stem cells could even help her brother.
Initially did you have any concerns?
My initial concern was if it would even be possible to use the service due to the fact that we live in the north east and if there would be any collectors nearby that could make it to us in time.
However, my concerns were easily put to rest by the lady [the phlebotomist] that called us from Future Health a few weeks before our baby was due, she explained exactly what would happen to both me and Stu. She explained the whole process, from when she needs to be called to how she can be updated throughout the labour. She also gave us rough time scales of how long it would take her to reach us and what would happen when she did.
Why did you choose Future Health Biobank?
I chose Future Health because they gave me great information about the process. Explained everything to me and kept me in the loop at all times. They also offered me lots of choices and even offered a payment plan that suited my financial situation, which was fantastic especially when you’re on maternity pay!
Would you recommend Future Health Biobank to friends and family?
I would definitely recommend Future Health to others, they gave me great customer service and kept me informed all the way, even when I was in labour. When you go into labour in the middle of the night,it was reassuring that everything could be arranged so quickly and the constant text and phone calls to my husband to check how labour was going and to say how far away she [the phlebotomist] was so that we were reassured that she would make it in time.
When she arrived I didn't even notice, she was so discreet, I remember that she introduced herself and then left the room until she was needed. Everything was done and boxed up and given back to my husband within what seemed like seconds after the birth. The collection was simple and straightforward and the couriers were in and out quickly, not wanting to disturb my bonding time with my new born and were very friendly.
Future Health even gave a curtesy phone call a few days later to update me on how well the procedure had gone and congratulate me on my new arrival.
If you could describe Future Health Biobank in three words, what would they be?
Informative, friendly, family orientated and committed – that’s four!
Stem cells are the building blocks of life, they create a direct link between your child’s good health at the time they are born and their good health in the future. Stem cells can be used to treat conditions such as leukaemia and thalassemia.
Vision is a highly sensitive prenatal test that can be carried out as early as 10 weeks into a pregnancy, using just one simple blood draw. This test measures the baby’s DNA that circulates in a woman’s blood during pregnancy.
One of the most exciting projects that is currently in clinical trial is the use of stem cells to treat cerebral palsy. A disease which unfortunately afflicts many, the potential to treat this disease using stem cells is closely watched by the world.