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How your baby’s stem cells can help a sibling

In 2018 we announced the amazing news that little Abdullah Alyaarbi had been able to save his older brother’s life. Whilst he certainly is a hero, he didn’t pull his older brother from a wrecked car nor did he carry him from a burning house. All Abdullah did was provide his stem cells at birth. His brother, Hamad, was suffering from the debilitating condition Sickle Cell Anaemia. After a transplant using his little brother’s stem cells he was complete cured and is now living a happy and healthy life, disease free.

When a transplant of stem cells is needed to treat a particular disease, they need to be a genetic match, much in the same way that an organ needs to match. The best match is always the patients own stem cells, these will be a 100% fit. However, if the patient doesn’t have any stem cells, sibling stem cells have a much higher chance of a match.

Statistically, there is a 1 in 4 chance that a sibling with be a full match. There is a 50% chance that a sibling will be a half match and a 25% chance that they won’t match at all. These are much higher odds than if you were using a public stem cell bank.

Only siblings share this unique match. Children are very unlikely to be matches for their parents and even more unlikely to be a match for grandparents.


Siblings have a 25% chance of being a full match for a sibling so there is still a 25% chance they won’t match. Only full siblings have a higher chance of being a match. Half siblings don’t usually carry the same advantage.

Not all conditions can be treated with donor stem cells (allogenic). Some need to be the patients own cells (autologous). See below for the full list of diseases that can be treated with sibling stem cells and which need to be the child’s own.

Disease Allogenic/autologous/both
Leukemias Allogenic
Myelodysplastic syndromes Allogenic
Lymphoma Allogenic
Aplastic anemia Both
Inherited immune system disorders Allogenic
Phagocyte disorders Allogenic
Bone marrow cancers Both
Neuroblastoma Autologous
Clinical trial stages
Autism Autologous
Cerebral Palsy Both
Hearing loss Autologous
MS Autologous
Lupus Both

Even though stem cells can be used to treat siblings, the best match will always be the patients own. Therefore, here at CellSave we always recommend banking for all children in case there isn’t a match between siblings.  Banking your child’s stem cells will mean a transplant can take place as and when you need it and you don’t have to wait for a match from a public bank.

Call one of our advisors on 800 2796 today and let us talk you through the process.

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cell storage

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