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The Melbourne parents who had a fourth child so they could use the baby’s stem cells to treat their daughters leukaemia say they would consider having a fifth if she ever relapsed.

Abby Walker was only two-years-old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in July 2006, reports 9 NEWS.

While undergoing chemotherapy her parents Nicole and Jim Walker began to consider having another child in order to use its cord blood stem cells in case Abby’s treatment failed.

aust story

“There were a few people who were against it, the fact that this baby may be brought into the world and made to think that it was born just in order to help Abby,” Mrs Walker said on Australian Story.

“A lot of people believe that maybe you’re playing God, playing with the stem cells, but I believe that anyone would do anything to save their child if put in that position.”

James was born on May 8, 2008 and his stem cells were harvested.

However, the chemo worked and to this day the Walkers don’t know whether the stem cells harvested from their son James would have been able to help Abby.

Peter Downie, a senior oncologist at Monash Children’s Hospital Cancer Centre, said there was always a risk the cells would not work “or that they can even reject the person”.

“If they have the child and the stem cells are not a match and they’ve done that specifically, what happens now? Do you do it again?’ Dr Downie said.

James’ cells are currently stored at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and the Walkers have not had them tested to see if they are a match for Abby should she relapse.

Ten years after making the bold decision to have a fourth child to save their daughter, the Walkers said they had no regrets and would consider doing it again.

“I can’t see any more children in the foreseeable future,” Mrs Walker said.

“I think four is plenty. But if it did come down to it and Abby needed a transplant and the other three were not suitable then I would consider another baby.”

Share your comments below

Image via Australian Story

  • Wow you would do anything for your children and ALL children are blessings!

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  • I would do exactly the same thing. Wouldn’t anyone do whatever they could to save their kids?

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  • ++++

    Would you tell the baby the reason you have him/her?
    Personally I would prefer not to do that.

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  • This is a scenario my husband and I have discussed. To have a child sick and know the options available that might help save them is not a decision to ever take lightly and needs lots of discussion and investigation. Personally, I’d have more babies, but then I’d love to have more babies anyway.

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  • In till you are in this place I guess you just don’t know what you would do. Good on them for doing what it takes to help their family

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  • As a mum, I feel as though I would do anything to save my children. But having babies to save a child may get a bit extreme for me. Having babies is a huge commitment for life! Having said that, I would most likely consider another baby to save my baby

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  • I find it difficult to have an opinion on this subject. Well, I’m surely glad that having another child meant saving their beautiful girl.

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  • It’s tough to comment on, and tough to know how James is going to perceive the reason for his existence. However I am so glad for them that chemo has worked

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  • I think I would do this if I was younger and still of child bearing age.

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  • interesting, I’m not sure exactly how I feel about this to be honest!

    I’m glad though that their daughter is well and that the little boy is in a loving family :)

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  • Hm. Stem cells from cord blood aren’t invasive for the “donor”, so I don’t think it’s as ethically murky as, say, bone marrow transplants. But still. You’d want to be very sure that child was also wanted or themselves.

    Reply

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