Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

Font Size

'Selecting' Siblings to Help Sick Kids

Center Combines Fertility Technique, Tissue Typing to Choose Children With Lifesaving Stem Cells
WebMD Health News

May 4, 2004 -- Nine-year-old Molly Nash's life was saved by the birth of her baby brother, Adam.

Adam, now 3 1/2, was conceived by in vitro fertilization. Genetic testing of him as an embryo proved him to be a good tissue match for his sister, who was fighting a rare and potentially fatal blood disease. And doctors have delivered five more children who were hand-picked to help save the lives of older siblings.

Five weeks after Adam was born, stem cells from his placenta were transplanted into Molly, and now the once desperately ill little girl is healthy and happy. She has little memory of the illness that almost took her life.

"She was on a lot of pain medication, so she doesn't really remember," mom Lisa Nash says. "She knows that Adam gave her some blood that made her feel better. And Adam knows even less than that. When the time is right we'll tell them, but I don't know when that will be."

But could some parents abuse the ability to choose the genetic aspects of their children?

Five More Births

Lisa Nash and her husband, Jack, were the first couple to attempt genetic testing at the embryo stage to ensure that their second child would be a good tissue match for their first. Researchers at Chicago's Reproductive Genetics Institute, where they had the procedure, report their experience with nine similar cases in the May 5 issue of TheJournal of the American Medical Association.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, as it is called, has been used for more than a decade by couples who turn to in vitro fertilization to avoid passing on serious inherited disorders to their children. More than 100 different genetic conditions are considered worthy of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, but the Chicago fertility researchers are the first to combine tissue typing with the procedure to ensure a donor match for an existing child.

The nine couples in the study had children with leukemia or a rare but potentially fatal form of anemia. Both conditions are best treated with stem cell transplantation from a matching donor.

Today on WebMD

Four pregnant women standing in a row
How much do you know about conception?
Couple with surrogate mother
Which one is right for you?
couple lying in grass holding hands
Why Dad's health matters.
couple viewing positive pregnancy test
6 ways to improve your chances.
Which Treatment Is Right For You
Conception Myths
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Charting Your Fertility Cycle
Fertility Specialist
Understanding Fertility Symptoms
invitro fertilization