Know why a father decided to have a 'Saviour Sibling' through IVF to save his 6-year-old son from Thalassemia
Pune: Abhijit Solanki, a 6-year-old boy owes his life to his saviour sibling - who was conceived through IVF with embryo selection - suitable to transplant bone marrow to him.
Sahdev Singh and Alpa Solanki's second born, Abhijeet was diagnosed with Thalassemia Major and was dependent on a monthly blood transfusion. The Solanki's were advised by doctors the Bone Marrow Transplant as the last resort to treat their child. However, the inability to find the required match for Human leukocyte Antigen (HLA) made the family helpless.
Baby Kavya was conceived through IVF to be HLA-matched, suitable to transplant bone marrow to her brother who was suffering from Thalassemia Major. Through a novel technique in Assisted Reproductive Therapy called PGT-M (Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing for Monogenic Disorder) with HLA (Human leukocyte antigen) matching Baby Kavya was born to save the older brother.
Father researched, approached doctors
Solanki himself thoroughly researched to find treatment options and came across the term 'Savior Sibling'. This gave him a ray of hope and he reached out to Dr Manish Banker, Medical Director, Nova IVF Fertility at his Ahmedabad Clinic for executing this novel clinical approach to save his son.
Dr Banker said, "We created the first-ever 'savior sibling' through medical marvels of ART in India. Considering the unavailability of matched human leukocyte antigen (HLA) donors for the transplant in Abhijeet's case, we decided to opt for IVF with HLA matching with Pre-Genetic Diagnosis and screening test (PGD and PGS). This process for 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. Bone marrow transplantation from an HLA-identical donor is the best therapeutic option for thalassemia major patients."
"Though we were aware of the science behind this, the father himself approached us basis his research on this, which is highly commendable. Considering this was the first-ever case in the history of Indian IVF, we took the challenge and created a healthy 'Savior Sibling' to save her elder brother," he added.
Sahadev Solanki said, "We had consulted many doctors across the country, but when nobody could assure successful transplantation, I decided to do whatever it takes to save my young child. Even though with limited medical knowledge, I researched and went through a pile of medical journals and case studies of similar cases to come up with something that can save my child from this deadly disease. Though our country now offers some of the best fertility solution centers, we needed the technological backbone of expert embryologists to perform this medical marvel."
Dr Deepa Trivedi, Programme Director, Sankalp CIMS BMT Unit, CIMS Hospital, said, "PGD for single gene disorders along with HLA typing offers the possibility of having a matched sibling donor that can save a sick sibling afflicted with the same genetic disorder. It is labour and cost intensive and requires multidisciplinary collaboration. It might be a viable option to a select group of families who want to avoid recurrent pregnancies, prenatal testing and termination of pregnancy if the fetus is affected."