Victoria Sandford is a loving mum of 2 and sister to Frankie Bridge.
1. Could you please provide a brief intro of your career/background?
My background was in recruitment for advertising and experiential agencies. When we moved to Bermuda we decided that I would focus on trying to start our family, this proved longer and harder than we realised with me travelling between the UK and Bermuda for tests and fertility treatment. This then lead us to the beautiful twins that we have now, pregnancy 5 and IVF. James has worked in Re-Insurance since leaving 6th form college and this is what took us to Bermuda 2 years ago.
2. Why did you decide to store your baby’s stem cells?
I feel like when you know about storing stem cells it is so hard to say no to it. The ‘what if’ of the future of your children makes it an easy decision, especially when the wide range of things that it can help is explained. Also, when you have been through pregnancy loss and fertility treatment it puts so many things in perspective and you want to do everything you can to make sure that you little babies have the best of everything that you can give them.
3. Had you heard about stem cell banking before? If so, where?
My sister, Frankie stored her baby stem cells with Smart Cells and this was the first time that I had heard of it. When she told me all about it, I knew it was something I would want to do so when I fell pregnant I looked into it in more detail.
4. What has your experience been like with Smart Cells?
My experience has been amazing, they explain everything so clearly and make sure that you understand exactly what they can offer you. Also for us living in Bermuda, we had to consider that if god forbid, our babies may need treatment there or in the US then would we be able to access the stem cells? The answer is yes, they will make sure they get them to you wherever you are in the world. This for us was a deal maker. The kits get delivered to you with no stress and even after the doctor in hospital gives you the stem cells and you call up to get them collected it’s all very easy to follow and everyone you speak with is so lovely and super helpful. Easy from start to finish.
5. Are there any obstacles that would have prevented you from using our service?
I think the cost would be the main thing that would have made us think twice about using the service. That’s not to say I think it’s overpriced at all, it’s just a lot of money to pay out for us when we were just about to start paying for twins. Also, our fertility treatment cost us so much money it was just adding to that bill. The positives weighed out the negatives though and we made it work.
6. What would you say to a friend or colleague who was thinking of using Smart Cells?
I would say that they need to do their own research and speak with Smart Cells as they can explain everything a lot better than I could. However the process is easy to do, they make sure you understand every step of the way and the benefits of doing it feel like such a positive. I would 100% recommend this service to people.
7. What would be your advice to any parents who are looking into storing their baby’s stem cells?
Make sure you get all of the information first. Check that the hospital that you are delivering at is covered by the service. They store the stem cells for 25 years so if you split the cost over that time frame (adding on the annual storage costs) then it is not so bad at all.