Parents turn to IVF to save son’s life

Sick toddler in need of stem cells from unborn brother or sister

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The parents of a toddler who needs monthly blood transfusions because of a rare condition have turned to IVF treatment to have a baby that could save his life, reports the Yorkshire Post.

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The rare life-threatening condition, called Diamond Blackfan anaemia, prevents 2-year-old William Rhodes from producing red blood cells so he urgently needs a bone marrow transplant. Parents Ben and Caroline Rhodes hope that stem cells from the umbilical cord of a new brother or sister could save his life by replenishing the bone marrow, as a sibling has a 95 per cent success rate compared to 45 per cent with an unrelated donor.

Researchers are currently working to identify the faulty gene, which causes the condition, but this could take months and might not be successful. Even if they fail doctors can still screen the couple’s embryos for a tissue match for William and if they can pinpoint the gene they can screen for the genetic abnormality too. It’s unlikely the condition will be passed onto the couple’s new baby though.

“We had always planned to have another child and this way we can help William at the same time. Hopefully it will save his life and give him a better quality of life,” said mum, Caroline.

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The family are now in a race against time to have the IVF treatment while William is still healthy but they need to raise as a much as £60,000 for the treatment. Supportive family and friends have started fund-raising and the couple are also in talks with the NHS in a bid to secure funding.

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