How do I know if stem cells are compatible with a half sibling?

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Question by audrey f: How do I know if stem cells are compatible with a half sibling?
I have a special needs son, with a chromosome deletion (1q42.13 and 1 q44). I am remarried now and we would like to have a baby. Can we use the baby’s umbilical cord blood to help with brain/immune issue with my elder son…even though it’s a different bio dad? How do you know if your stem cells are compatible?

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Answer by Alec S
Compatibility testing must be done. Even a full brother may not be a match.

Best of luck to all of you

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One Response to “How do I know if stem cells are compatible with a half sibling?”

  1. 62,040,610 Idiots says:

    First off, your son must be affected by problems that can be treated by stem cell transplants. Since you know the precise deletion, you should talk to your genetic counselor(s) about your options with regards to stem cells.

    If the disorder can be treated by stem cell transplants, and you have access to the resources necessary to perform and pay for a transplant, then the next step would be to determine compatibility. What this means is that doctors will test your son, yourself, and probably your husband to see how closely you match. It is similar in some ways to testing whether a blood donor is compatible. If the matches are close enough, a transplant may be considered.

    If you were to have another child, they could also be tested. There are no guarantees, but cord blood is generally a good source for transplants if the kids are immunologically compatible. A half-sibling can be a good match, but there is no sure fire way to predict the chances of this and sometimes matches cannot be made.

    Again, your geneticists can advise you on the likelihood of a match between your son, yourself, and other relatives.

    You may also want to discuss your risks of having another affected child with a geneticist so that you are clear about the circumstances before becoming pregnant.

    It sounds like a difficult situation for you and your son. I hope he can be treated and that a donor can be found. Best wishes to the both of you.

    BTW: if your son has a syndrome that others are also known to have, have you sought out patient support groups and families of other affected children? They can be great resources for information and connections to researchers and clinicians who are experts. They are also the ones who will understand your situation the best, and who will help you know that you are not alone.

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