When a family has a child with a life-limiting condition, they can choose to ‘tissue match’ their new child to help its sibling:
- They go to an IVF clinic to conceive their baby in a lab.
- After three to four days, the embryo will have grown to 64 cells. It will fit on the head of a pin.
- One cell is tested to see if there is a tissue match between the embryo and the family’s sick child and, if necessary, to check that the embryo is free of genetic disorders.
- If the embryo is a tissue match it can be implanted in its mother and allowed to continue to develop naturally.
- Blood from the umbilical cord is collected after birth and can be used to treat the baby’s sick sibling.
- The family now has two healthy children!
This procedure is only allowed if there is no matching tissue donor in the family or on donor registries.
A handful of life-limiting conditions can now be treated us
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