Children's Health

Stem Cell 'Designer Baby' Helps to Cure Sick Brother



A seriously ill child whose parents had a "designer baby" in a bid to cure him has completely recovered, his parents said.

Charlie Whitaker was born with Diamond Blackfan Anaemia (DBA), a rare condition which prevented his body from making red blood cells, The (London) Daily Telegraph reported.

His parents, Jayson and Michelle, were told the only cure for their son was a stem cell transplant.

With no family member a genetic match for Charlie, the couple from Palterton, northern England, flew to the U.S. for IVF and to select an embryo. The controversial practice was banned in Britain at the time, although it is now permitted.

Stem cells transplanted from the umbilical cord of his brother Jamie -- who was born in 2003 -- have now completely cured him.

Charlie, 12, can now live a normal, healthy life after years of painful blood transfusions and daily injections, his parents said.

"People would use the term designer or harvest baby to talk about Jamie, to make it sound like he was born for spare parts, but that is completely wrong," Michelle Whitaker said.

"I really like the term saviour baby because that is what he is."

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