Cord blood banking has been in the news extensively in India. Along with a number of cord blood banks starting to offer services in India, there have been some high profile treatments delivered, using the stem cells from cord blood. A recent story involves an Indian family that delivered a second child to save the life of their firstborn.
Their baby suffered from thalassemia, a disorder causing the production of abnormal hemoglobin. Typically, treated with blood transfusions, thalassemia can be cured through the transplant of stem cells that can be found in bone marrow or cord blood. Stem cell matches are even more difficult to find in India than in the United States so doctors suggested the family conceive another child to attempt to find a match for their sick child.
The family conceived a second child and the baby was a match! The stem cell transplant was successful and the older daughter is now thalassemia-free. While siblings are not guaranteed to be a match, they are more likely to match a child than the general population. We love to hear about successful cord blood treatments.