Childhood friends are donor mums to their babies

Two childhood friends have undergone transplant surgery to save the lives of their children who were born with the same rare condition.

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Tara Sturman, 35, and Andrea Cobbold, 33, donated parts of their livers to their children at King’s College Hospital in London with the hope that it would save their babies’ lives from a condition called biliary atresia.

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The birth defect affects about 50 babies in England and Wales each year. So far only a few dozen of these operations have ever been carried out in the UK.

The condition meant that Andrea’s son Alex, 13 months, and Tara’s daughter India, 10 months, were born without bile ducts outside their liver so bile enters the bloodstream poisoning the liver and causing cirrhosis.

Alex received her liver transplant in October 2007 and was allowed home on December 20. India received hers in November and went back to her home in Elmswell, Suffolk, in January.

Andrea said, “There is still a small chance of rejection, but if this doesn’t happen Alex’s new liver should last him well into old age. I’m confident Alex would’ve died without my liver – the lack of donors means the waiting list is too long and Alex didn’t have time.”

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Mr Mohamed Rela, consultant liver surgeon at King’s College Hospital who operated on Andrea and Alex, said: “This condition is extremely rare. Furthermore, only 55 mother-to-child liver donation operations have been carried out in the UK.”

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