Cord blood banking matters to me: Zoe and Brendan Cole

We’re privileged to be named in hundreds of couple’s birthing plans and to play a tiny part in their journey to welcoming and protecting new life. In 2018 one of the couples we advised on umbilical stem cell storage was Zoe and Brendan Cole. The couple already had a daughter, Aurelia, and were considering storing their new baby’s cord blood and tissue at birth. Brendan and Zoe were keen to share their experiences of cord blood banking to raise awareness about the life-saving and enhancing potential of a resource that we in the UK routinely throw away.

Here is the couple’s story, in Zoe’s words:

“We decided to store Dante’s cord blood stem cells as a way of having peace of mind for the future. Once you have children there is always something to worry about! Are they happy? Doing well at school? Eating the right food etc. I try hard to ensure that my children are as healthy as they can in terms of getting enough rest and good nutrition etc but it seemed like a great idea to have a sort of insurance policy in place should the worst happen. The science of stem cells and their usage in treating disease and illness is so fast evolving that it just seemed crazy not to store them when the opportunity arose and it gives us a real peace of mind.

“We chose Biovault to collect and store stem cells for us as they have such great credentials. They’re Europes only private bank to be accredited by both the AABB and the JACIE. They also work with the NHS which reassured us.

“The service offered to us was brilliant and ran very smoothly. When you are pregnant and contemplating labour there is so much to think about and get your head around so you really don’t need to add anything else that might be tricky to your list of concerns.

Zoe & Brendan Cole
Image by kind permission of Zoe and Brendan Cole
Brendan Cole with Dante and Aurelia
Image by kind permission of Zoe Cole

“Biovault were great at answering any questions I had in the run-up to D day and reassured me about the collection process. I was given the phone number of the phlebotomist who would do the collection on the day and also a spare (hehe) stand in phlebotomist in case the first couldn’t make it there for any reason. The lovely lady was a trained midwife as well which helped to put my mind at ease and we had a brief chat in the days before my due date. When I did go into labour I knew it would be very quick as it was my second baby and my first was pretty quick. I called the phlebotomist on route to the hospital and she was there soon after we arrived. She discreetly and effortlessly came and took a blood sample and then a few minutes after Dante was safely delivered she took the cord blood and tissue. To be honest I barely noticed she was there!

One of my main concerns was would I be able to store stem cells and delay cord clamping and I’m happy to say I was able to achieve both. Biovault had guidelines on this based on research from the World Health organisation and I’m pleased to say we managed to find a happy compromise where I was able to delay cord clamping for a few minutes and still get a great sample for storage. This was all managed brilliantly on the day between my wonderful midwives and the phlebotomist.

It would be really wonderful to see more awareness of cord blood banking as It’s still something that most people are unaware of and it could save so many lives. It’s such a simple process and gives you a real sense of comfort knowing you have it, god forbid something bad happens. Whilst I was pleased to hear my midwives at my local hospital where I gave birth say that had a little experience of cord blood collection they also told me that for them it was still relatively uncommon. Like I said before the science behind stem cells and their use is so quickly evolving that if enough people bank, so many lives can be saved in this way! By using something from our own bodies or those of our loved ones or donating to those who need it.

Zoe and Brendan used our Family Plus service.

Zoe & Brendan Cole's baby Dante Cole

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Cord blood processing and storage for families. Choose a 10 or 25 storage period and reduced fees for twins.

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Cord blood and tissue storage for families wishing to store stem cell-rich umbilical tissue as well as cord blood.