A one-year-old girl, conceived by her parents through IVF specifically for the purpose of donating her bone marrow to their thalassemic son, has succeeded in saving her six-year-old brother's life.
Baby Kavya was born a year ago through In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) technique in Ahmedabad, under the concept known as 'saviour sibling'.
Her bone marrow was successfully transplanted to her brother Abhijeet Solanki in March this year and the boy is now "risk-free", doctors said on Thursday.
Abhijeet, the second child of Sahdev Singh Solanki and Alpa Solanki, was diagnosed with Thalassemia-major, a blood disorder, and was dependent on blood transfusion every month, they said.
Thalassemia-major patients require frequent blood transfusions and their life expectancy is also less.
His parents were advised bone marrow transplant as the last resort to treat the child, but they could not find the required HLA (human leukocyte antigen) match.
"Due to unavailability of matching HLA donors for the transplant, we opted for IVF with HLA matching," city-based Nova IVF Fertility's medical director Dr Manish Banker told PTI.
This process of HLA typing is an established method for conceiving a child, who may donate cord blood or hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation to save a sibling with a critical illness.
Abhijeet's father approached Banker after he found that the bone marrow of his family members, including the boy's elder sister, was not matching.
"Bone marrow transplant from an HLA-identical donor is the best therapeutic option for thalassemia major patients. We took the challenge and created a healthy savior sibling to save her elder brother," Banker said.
With the help of IVF, Abhijeet's mother delivered a healthy baby girl Kavya a year ago, who was found to be the HLA match for the sibling.
In March this year, after Kavya gained the required weight, a successful bone marrow transplant was done for Abhijeet at the CIMS Hospital here, Banker said.
"Now, Abhijeet is risk-free and doesn't require blood transfusion," Banker said.
"This is the first case in India when an HLA matching baby was born through IVF specifically to save the thalassemia-major sibling," he said.
The siblings' father, who himself researched well about this technique, thanked Banker and other expert doctors for saving his son.
"It gives me immense pleasure to see both my children healthy and full of life. I am thankful and will always be indebted to Nova IVF Fertility for giving us hope to live," he said.