I’m Maria Kovalets. Originally from Russia, I have been working as a fashion model since I was 13 years old. I came to Hong Kong in the beginning of 2013 for a 3 month modelling contract with one of the top HK agencies and loved it so much I decided to stay and work here for a bit longer. Ever since I considered Hong Kong as my home. Now I am married to an Australian man who also finds Hong Kong fascinating and spent over 20 years here. In April 2020 our daughter was born in Hong Kong. What crazy timing for a baby to be born! Covid 19 hit the planet and no one is safe!
Hong Kong was one of the first cities to react to Covid news that was coming from China in January 2020. Very fast city went into lock down, people started to wear masks when outside and sanitise hands to protect from the virus. Obviously giving birth in this kind of environment was a little scary.
How did you find out about storing your baby’s stem cells?
One month into lockdown I was reading a local newspaper and bumped into an article about how doctors used preserved stem cells to cure a person in China of COVID related complications. It made me think about preserving stem cells for my yet unborn baby.
Why did you decide to store your baby’s stem cells?
I started reading about the benefits of preserving stem cells and cord blood and how they can be used. Now I strongly believe that science is our key to solving the world’s health problems.
Do you know any friends or family who has stored their baby’s stem cells?
I’ve heard about Smart Cells from my friend who is also a model in Hong Kong and she gave birth just a couple months earlier than I did. She recommended SM to me as a company with seamless customer experience.
What has your experience been like with Smart Cells?
She was right, from the moment of the first communication with the salesman until the very end it was a very smooth process.
Did the process work as you had expected it to? Did you find it to be an easy process?
The process of collection was really easy. After the baby was born and the specimen was gathered, the courier arrived at the hospital to collect it. I received confirmation that stem cells were delivered to the bank in 1 day.
Are there any obstacles that would have prevented you from using our service?
I believe there are no real obstacles that would prevent me from using SC services. For many people price might become one, but I think this is an investment into my child’s health, so it is totally worth it.
How important do you think it is to raise awareness of the benefits of storing umbilical cord blood stem cells?
The research that is available online talks about wonders of how safe to collect stem cells at birth and how stem cells improved many lives if used correctly. If more people were aware of it, imagine how many families it could help! I just wish all kids will be healthy.
What would you say to a friend or colleague who was thinking of using Smart Cells?
I would say Go for it! Smart Cells is a good service company and it would totally help get peace of mind for parents in these tough times
Would you recommend this service to others? If so, why?
I would totally recommend Smart Cells to my friends who are considering preserving their kids’ stem cells. It gives reassurance in the future
What would be your advice to any parents who are looking into storing their baby’s stem cells?
I would advise people to read and educate themselves more about the subject. Also would recommend to look at what wasn’t available to us 10 years ago and see what is available now. Medicine constantly progresses and who knows what we will be able to cure by using stem cells in 10 years. It’s really worth it to invest in the future rather than just rely on lack.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
Now my mind is calm as I know that my baby has a protection plan even though I am hoping I will never need to use it.
I believe in science as I said earlier. Isn’t it amazing how much can change in medicine and technology just in 1 decade? With constant development who knows what will be available to us in 5 or 10 years time and how stem cells will be used to cure people. But in a meantime, I really hope that the situation in the world will get better and while we are waiting, it’s good to know that I always have a backup plan for my little princess.