|By Debbie Kelley; by Debbie Kelley email@example.com -|
A mother and father hope generous donors, a surrogate mother and a yet-to-be conceived sibling's umbilical cord blood could stop the leukemia threatening the life of an 11-year-old
A long journey to save the life of their youngest son has led Mike and Lori Knar to the controversial path. The Knars say they're willing to go that route for Aden, because if they don't, blood cancer will win what's become a horrific race.
After repeated attempts to locate a bone marrow donor for Aden, who has a rare genetic makeup found in just 1 percent of the population, the family on Wednesday launched a public appeal for what appears to be a last-ditch hope: a savior child.
The Knars want to create a baby, one that's cancer-free and an exact genetic match, and use the baby's umbilical cord blood to cure Aden.
"I know there's controversy in doing this, but if you're sitting in our shoes, trying to save an 11-year-old's life and you think long and hard, you go, 'OK,'" Mike Knar said.
The family needs to find a surrogate mother, who would be implanted with embryos using in vitro fertilization. The embryos, using eggs and sperm from Aden's parents, would not only be a genetic twin of Aden, but also would be free of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the disease Aden suffers.
Just an ounce or two of cord blood could be enough to rid Aden of his cancer for good, his father said. Aden's new sibling, whom the family plans to raise alongside its cured brother, wouldn't be harmed. The baby would be the family's sixth child.
Aden has been receiving chemotherapy at
Medical consultants and doctors say genetically compatible cord blood transplanted into Aden's body would result in an 85 percent chance of a cure, Knar said.
Without it, Aden is down to a 10 percent chance of survival.
"Normally, this process is done for non- life-threatening illnesses," Knar said. "It's only been done a handful of times in life-threatening situations, but it's been successful in all of them."
If Aden's condition worsens before the baby is born, Knar said doctors could extract the cord blood in utero, as early as four to six months gestation.
The medical procedures and surrogate services would not be covered by the family's health insurance, Knar said. To get the process started, the family needs
The Knars have searched public and private cord blood banks and have held numerous drives in search of a bone marrow donor.
The last one, held in mid-April at Aden's school,
While there was no match for Aden, Knar said one person matched someone from the
"Aden just happened to get a bad curveball. We could test and do this for years, and never come close to a match," he said. "This is now one of our only options to cure this and keep him alive."
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