You may know Natalie as Sky Sports F1 presenter. We know her as a woman expecting her first child, and now as mum of Wilfred. When we first met Natalie, she was already interested in preserving her child’s umbilical stem cells – the question was, which UK bank was best for her family. We were delighted that when Natalie gave birth to Wilfred, she not only opted to bank her son’s cord blood with Biovault Family, but also wanted to share her story to raise awareness about cord blood banking.
Before she gave birth, we talked with Natalie about her reasons for storing cord blood and why she trusted Biovault with those precious cells. Here’s what she had to say…
1. When did you first hear about cord blood banking?
I first heard about it at my antenatal class – My Healthcare Clinic in Battersea Reach. I’d heard of stem cell treatments and was interested straight away. The more I knew, the more I wanted to know. The potential is so huge and there doesn’t appear to be any downsides. As an expectant parent, cord blood banking doesn’t really show up in the big list of things you are advised to consider but I’m really glad we know about it and are doing something to protect our child’s future.
2. What did your husband think about cord blood banking?
Owain was with me in the class and could see that it was something we should seriously consider so we talked and researched it further. We see it as the ultimate insurance policy that we hope and pray we never need to use. We both decided that we needed to take this opportunity because we have a responsibility to protect our unborn child. For us, the decision was common sense really.
3. What were the main factors in your decision?
I have a real interest in stem cell research and treatments because I have a friend of a similar age in the States who is currently benefitting from stem cell treatment for a serious condition. Sadly I lost a friend to Motor Neurone disease in his 30’s so I guess I’ve always had a curiosity about the potential of stem cells to treat such diseases in the back of my mind.
4. Why did you ultimately decide to bank cord blood?
It is interesting because you have the ‘here and now’ to think about and it is very easy to get caught up or even feel burdened by all of the advice and recommendations you get. You get swamped with so many things that it could be easy to shelve an option like this. However, when you step back and take a look at your child’s future, I think our decision was about securing the ability in the future to benefit from the huge potential stem cells have to protect, not just this baby, but also future siblings and even ourselves.
5. Was it a difficult decision? Were there any negatives?
It wasn’t a difficult decision. In many ways was an exciting one knowing that we are capturing the potential of future advances in stem cell treatments. The only slightly negative feeling I had was if it will be intrusive but I was reassured by Biovault that it won’t be.
6. Why choose Biovault Family?
They were selected by My Healthcare Clinic as the best provider. That reassured me which is all a new parent ever needs. I’ve met the team at Biovault Family and I can see why they were recommended. From having my questions answered by qualified experts through to putting in place the necessary arrangements for collection, I’ve been impressed.
Commenting on Natalie’s decision to bank with Biovault Family, Dr Joanna Tilley, Technical Director, said: “Our congratulations go to Natalie and Owain on the birth of beautiful baby Wilfred. Natalie has a keen interest in the potential of cord blood banking so we are very grateful to her for highlighting this and entrusting us with the processing and storage of these stem cells.”
BSc (Hons) Microbiology
Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.