A one-year-old girl, conceived by her parents using IVF technology specifically to donate bone marrow to their thalassemic son, managed to save her six-year-old brother’s life.
Baby Kavya was born a year ago using in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique in Ahmedabad, under the concept of “brother or sister savior”.
His bone marrow was successfully transplanted to his brother Abhijeet Solanki in March this year and the boy is now “safe”, doctors said Thursday.
Abhijeet, the second child of Sahdev Singh Solanki and Alpa Solanki, was diagnosed with thalassemia major, a blood disease, and was dependent on blood transfusion every month, they said.
Patients with thalassemia major require frequent blood transfusions, and their life expectancy is also shorter.
His parents were advised to have a bone marrow transplant as a last resort to treat the child, but they could not find the required HLA (human leukocyte antigen) match.
“Due to the unavailability of matching HLA donors for the transplant, we opted for HLA matched IVF,” Nova IVF Fertility medical director based at Nova IVF Fertility told PTI.
This HLA typing process is an established method of conceiving a child, who can donate cord blood or hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation to save a sibling with serious illness.
Abhijeet’s father approached Mr Banker after he found that the bone marrow of his family members, including the boy’s older sister, did not match.
“HLA-identical donor bone marrow transplant is the best treatment option for adult thalassemia patients. We rose to the challenge and created a healthy sibling to save his older brother,” said Mr. Banker.
With the help of IVF, Abhijeet’s mother gave birth a year ago to a healthy baby girl, Kavya, who turned out to be the HLA match for the brother.
In March of this year, after Kavya gained the required weight, a successful bone marrow transplant was performed for Abhijeet at CIMS Hospital, Banker said.
“Abhijeet is now safe and does not require a blood transfusion,” Banker said.
“This is the first case in India where an HLA matching baby was born by IVF specifically to save the sibling from thalassemia major,” he said.
The siblings’ father, who himself studied this technique well, thanked Mr Banker and other medical experts for saving his son.