D’Maris, a Senior Lecturer in Economics, The Bartlett School, University College London stored her son’s stem cell samples with us in April 2015.
D’Maris has been kind enough to spare a few minutes to talk to us and tell us why she decided to store with Smart Cells for her son Philip.
Why did you decide to store your baby’s stem cells?
Stem cell research is showing great promise in treating not only life-threatening diseases, but also an ever-increasing range of chronic conditions that lower quality of life. Diabetes mellitus, sarcoidosis, and adrenal dysfunction all run in the family, and are areas where stem cell research is showing real potential, so it seemed like the prudent thing to do. Even if we never have to use them, the peace of mind is well worth the expense. Also what I didn’t know until I looked into it is that stem cell research can deliver meaningful treatments for brain injuries, neuropsychiatric developmental disorders (including ADD and autism), and other acquired ailments. Given what we know now, I would have a hard time forgiving myself if I missed the opportunity to protect my son’s future health and happiness.
Why did you choose Smart Cells?
I researched the market and then consulted my obstetric surgeon, whose practice independently recommended Smart Cells. At one of my antenatal appointments, we discussed the merits of cord blood (and tissue) storage. I also learned that my surgeon had had done Smart Cells’ first UK retrieval, and that the Westminster Maternity Suite (at St Thomas’ Hospital) was accustomed to working with the Smart Cells team. It was a relief to know that the WMS even has extra kits around in case something goes astray on the day! Knowing that Smart Cells and the WMS have such a good working relationship made you the obvious choice.
What differentiates Smart Cells from other private umbilical cord blood stem cell storage companies?
Longevity is a big selling point. Volume is another. In medicine as in law, smart money goes to the people with the most experience, those who do the same procedures all day, every day. Smart Cells has been around long enough that the client can rest assured that you know what you are doing, and that the stem cells that you store have been used successfully to treat diseases. Your customer service is also excellent, friendly and supportive. But that really should not be anyone’s main criteria, nor should price (within reason), on this occasion. Put simply, Smart Cells is the market leader.
What was your experience with smart cells like?
Very easy, especially as I had a bronchial infection and laryngitis the week before I gave birth, and thus was neither very well organized nor easy to speak with on the phone. So it was great you handled everything so efficiently!
What did you like most about us?
That you’re a known quantity! Storing cells is a one-shot deal, literally a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for my son, and thus crucial to get right. My obstetrician’s endorsement was the biggest factor in using your service.
Did everything work as you expected it to?
Absolutely! In fact, it largely ‘worked’ without my having to do anything at all, which is exactly what you want. I got a letter in the post five days later saying that the retrieval and storage had been successful. It couldn’t have been any easier.
Are there any obstacles that would have prevented you from using our service?
Some of the other firms in the industry make the process more difficult, or require that the client sign up weeks in advance of delivery. Smart Cells’ flexibility was helpful. As a service, it’s not cheap, but it is worth it.
What would you say to a friend or colleague who was thinking of using Smart Cells?
Deciding to store stem cells is a big decision, but choosing the firm shouldn’t be. The best obstetricians in London retrieve cord blood and tissue for Smart Cells, pretty much daily. I would be very surprised if the market were any different outside the capital.
Would you recommend this service to others? If so, why?
Absolutely! Because if their family is going to store stem cells, they should choose a firm that can deliver!
Is there anything else you wish to add?
Just those recent advances in medical science are astounding. Storing stem cells represents a genuine opportunity for families to ride that wave, possibly with life-saving or at least life-changing consequences!
"I just wanted to thank you for all your help and advice with regard to our stem cell collection. Our lovely boy was born on the 22nd and collection all went smoothly. It was down to your knowledge and customer care that I felt confident to use Smart Cells rather than another company"
"Smart Cells are clearly very knowledgeable about their product. Even further, they spend time with the client to understand their wishes and current situation. I have found their response time superb and their manner very effective"
"Smart Cells gave us superb service and it was very cool that they were so kind to chat with us and show us the laboratory and storage units. It made me feel more comfortable about your company"
"Everyone who collects umbilical cord stem cells hopes they'll never have to use it, but we know we've done the right thing by bagging and banking just in case we do"
"Your assistance in getting the kit to us was of more help than you can know - We had the comfort and knowledge that we were as prepared as we possible could be for a severely premature baby"
"A stem cell transplant was the only way to save Ahmed! Ahmed is now growing in height and is transfusion and medication free. He loves school and playing with the other kids - he enjoys being just like the other children"
"Very professional, we knew we were in good hands and that our child's stems cells would be looked after."
"I understand that stories of cloning and Dolly the sheep make people worry that they are playing with nature but it's the most natural thing. When you have children, it is your instinct to do anything to help your child survive. This is just one part of that."
"We are all living longer and a lot of us will unfortunately experience illness within our lifetimes - storing cells that may one day become part of a future treatment or cure will potentially prolong and enrich the lives of both you and your family. It's a no-brainer."
"I hope to never have to use it, however if that time should ever come, I'll feel more prepared than if I chose not to store my baby's stem cells."
"I would have no hesitation recommending Smart Cells to anyone potentially giving birth - especially if they have any historical family health concerns."
"I thought the service was excellent!"
"Excellent, I would use the service again"
"Very Approachable when questioned and instructions are easy to follow"
"Great customer service. Really friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, professional and responsive. Would definitely recommend to anyone."
"I have used smart cells twice and was very happy with the quality of service on both occasions."
"It was a stress free process from beginning to end. The staff were all very helpful and nice and our phlebotomist, Ela, was lovely. Would recommend Smart Cells to anyone wishing to have their baby's cord blood/ tissue stored."
"While we are fortunate enough not to have required the use of it yet, I am put at ease knowing that my son and daughter's cord blood cells and tissues are stored with Smart cells. The team in Dubai were always available and friendly whenever I had a query no matter how big or small. I have recommended Smart Cells to a number of friends but it is the reputation and effective client service from Kazal and his team which convinced most of them to sign up with Smart Cells over the any other storage service. I hope no one ever needs to use this "insurance" and for all to be happy and healthy, but if the time comes for its use I know Smart Cells will be able to honestly and effectively assist me and the rest of the families."
"We want to thank you and your wonderful team including your service provider DHL for the super excellent service. Everything worked out beautifully as planned, even though we were in different countries and at such a short notice. Ace Service! Super Ace Team!"
"I found the initial communication was a bit confusing - ie; Understanding the kit and who would use it, etc. However, once that was clear, the service was incredibly responsive and professional. We would recommend the service without reservation."
"We strongly believe that the science will keep evolving and discovering new methods and treatments. Like every parent, we hope to never use stored cells; however, we like to think that by creating awerness and investing in stem cells we will be a small part of the effort to improve stem cell research and discover even more possibilities. When it comes to the Smart Cells team - we are highly satisfied. The Dubai team we dealt with is very professional and responsive. Fatima emailed us regarding every step and kept in touch during most important time in our life. A big thank you from all of us"
"This is the second time I've used Smart Cells - very efficient, reliable and friendly service."
"Mike and Danielle in particular were both great from start to finish. Really made me feel comfortable with the whole process. I would recommend Smart Cells based on the customer service and care they provided. Thank you very much for a very positive experience."
"All of your Customer Services Team have been an absolute credit to you. Any questions we had - you had a speedy response. You were very approachable at all times and was very informed about about what was going on. You made it very very easy for us to do this. Thanks a million, you were all an absolute star!!
"Extremely good service as we were very late contacting Smart Cells as I began labour early and unexpectedly. Smart Cells responded out of office hours, very efficiently and professionally. Arrived quickly to the hospital and did the procedure with no fuss and disturbance to us. Would recommend."
"The team was great and without their high level of responsiveness and thorough explanation, I would have probably selected a competitor."
"As we had recently moved back to the UK from Singapore, we had not thought about the collection of cord blood for our second baby as we had done for our first. It was not till I was in labour that we remembered. My husband called Smartcells from the birthing suite, and everything was taken care of swiftly and painlessly. The courier arrived after only a couple of hours with the kit so we had it in plenty of time before the birth. Amazing customer service and turn around time! Highly recommend"
"We were extremely pleased by the constant support and follow up by your staff. I was not sure if my wife did the right thing to call one of your colleagues at 2 am post delivery, but was delighted to know how politely and patiently you responded to the doctor's queries. We were really touched by this act. We wish Smart Cells all the success and would surely recommend to other parents."
"Everything worked excellent and you were there the best moment of our lives!"
"A professional service throughout, and our phlebotomist was fantastic!"
"Staff have always been very informative and helpful. They have responded to my emails and calls promptly."
"I am very happy for the service and care I have received from Smart Cells and the phlebotomy team. I would definitely recommend Smart Cells for cord blood banking. Many thanks."
"We have used Smart Cells twice now and have enjoyed equally good service on both occasions. Friendly, professional and extremely helpful staff made for a positive experience and we would happily recommend them."
"Brilliant service and an easy application process."
"Just fantastic at every stage, very responsive, knowledgeable and helpful. I felt reassured that there was contingency in place for the collection on the day and the collection and pick up was smooth but didn't interfere with the special birth day. All staff were exceptional in friendliness and helpfulness at every point."
"Every person I spoke to from Smart Cells was impressively helpful and friendly. I personally dealt with Mike, Kauser and Ketan. They made the whole process so easy and efficient. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Smart Cells and the individuals that helped make my experience a pleasant one"
"Smart Cells uses the volume reduction method. This is the most technologically advanced method to date and is being used by the most advanced companies worldwide along with the NHS. This difference, coupled with a top notch service left me extremely satisfied and reassured that I chose the right company"
"From the start, we wanted to explore storing our baby's cord blood and tissue cells. Smart Cells was recommended by our doctor and after our first initial meeting with them, we felt we would be able to make an informed decision. We still asked and got info from other companies, however we chose Smart Cells because they had the most comprehensive and informative approach and their staff were very knowledgeable, professional and helpful"
"Smart Cells customer service department was excellent. They dealt with all my queries straight away and were clear and concise, reassuring me and keeping me updated without being pushy. A professional service which I am very happy with. If I have another child I will definitely use them again"
"Smart Cells have been exceptionally helpful and a pleasure to deal with"
"From the very first phone call the service was exceptional. Your staff were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly"
"Smart Cells were really good help in explaining the whole process and giving me peace of mind when I had a question. Very friendly and knowledgeable. It was a pleasure dealing with them. The two Phlebotomists who I was in touch with were both nice and efficient"
"The service we received from Smart Cells was irreproachable! We contacted them on several occasions, by phone and by email and they replied promptly every time by giving us all the information we needed."
"The Phlebotomist was very friendly on the day of delivery. Overall I was very satisfied with the process and it was worth the money"
"Very helpful and friendly service! Smooth, quick and efficient process at a very busy moment in your life. Thank you!"
"I am using your service for my second baby! Thank you for everything. Phlebotomist was nice and punctual. Very happy customer!"
"The service provided by Smart Cells Oman was amazing starting from the day I emailed them first. Fatima Manzoor, Territory Manager, got in touch with me straight away and she was always available to answer any doubts we had. The follow ups were also great and gave us comfort. I thank Smart Cells Oman and Fatima Manzoor for all their help and excellent service and I will surely tell my family and friends about you."
"Great and efficient service. The customer service is very friendly and you get a lovely one-to-one rapport. Happy to deal with any issue but also honest in giving advice. Would certainly use again and would recommend it to any of our friends"
"I was absolutely satisfied with the service! Clear information, quick service and reliable staff. Thank you very much for your help and I will definitely do it again if we have another baby"
"The service was amazing, could not be better!"
"Thanks a lot for your quick service. I will never forget that I called you in the middle of the night from the Labour Ward and after 1 hour I had the kit in my hand. An hour later the Phlebotomist was in the hospital waiting for the delivery of my baby and to collect the umbilical cord blood and tissue samples. Best regards to all the Smart Cells Staff - My real life insurance!"
"A very professional and friendly service. Always ready to answer any questions and give advise. I would definitely use them again!"
"The service that we received by the team at Smart Cells was exceptional, thank you!"
"We were surpised by our labour beginning before we had received our kit. Smart Cells and their approved Phlebotomy service were able to provide the kit and arrive within one hour. Very Helpful with all dealings and all explanations were very thorough"
"Our previous two interactions with SCI were very positive but this time you went over and above expectations. The telephone conversations were very polite and informative. I will recommend SCI to everyone that we know who is considering umbilical cord blood and tissue storage"
"Excellent service, friendly, helpful and the Phlebotomist was great at the hospital and was a good part of the team. She wasn't in the way at all and stayed with me through my quick birth"
"Thank you so much for everything! Your customer service was fabulous and the process was very efficient"
"We have been extremely satisfied with the service provided by Smart Cells throughout the whole process - including the Phlebotomist who was always attentive to our needs. We would have no hesitation in recommending Smart Cells to family and friends"
"Customer service is excellent. The team were very friendly and knowledgeable. We used your company with our first child and used it again for our second. Would definitely recommend to our friends"
"I found the overall service very good. I have been very happy with the service provided to us with our three children. Should we go on to have any more children we would continue to use your company to collect and store cord blood and cord tissue stem cells. Many thanks for all of your assistance"
"We used Smart Cells with our first child and now again with our second baby. The service is excellent and everyone I spoke to was extremely courteous and helfpul. Staff followed up on a regular basis with me and offered their assistance if it was needed"
"Excellent service and also very helpful in all Stages of the process. Thank you"
"Great service and very happy that we went ahead with the process. Would recommend to family and friends"
"Thanks for all of your help and taking the time to talk things through with me when I first called"
"Very easy process and I am grateful for the additional explanations with regard to storage and use. Your courier was also very helpful when it came to pick up and transport of the samples after delivery which was much appreciated"
"Fast and friendly service. Always available to answer questions and queries. Appointed a fantastic Phlebotomist who was lovely!"
"Thank you very much for your good service. I received all the information I needed and the knowledge to explain the process. I will definitely use Smart Cells again when I have my second baby"
"Excellent! Very happy with the overall service, Would recommend!"
"Great service - you did everything you could to make the process easy at a challenging time"
"Once again Mike, thank you for all your time and effort in explaining everything to the last detail. After a bit of shopping around and considering other companies it was really your patience and ability to answer all my questions that made me choose Smart Cells over all the others"
"Fantastic as always. This is the 3rd time I have used Smart Cells and would do so again if needed"
“Excellent experience. The service is of outstanding quality.”
"At a time when there are a huge number of decisions to make, banking with Smart Cells was one of the easiest. This is a great company: terrific service, wonderful product, have already recommended to others!”
“I was very happy throughout with the service, timeliness and courtesy.”