This Baby Boy Was Created by Genetic Engineering to Save His Sister. Disturbing? as a British Couple Reveal They've Done the Same, Read This Story and Then Make Up Your Own Mind

By Chalmers, Sarah | Daily Mail (London), October 18, 2001 | Go to article overview

This Baby Boy Was Created by Genetic Engineering to Save His Sister. Disturbing? as a British Couple Reveal They've Done the Same, Read This Story and Then Make Up Your Own Mind


Chalmers, Sarah, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: SARAH CHALMERS

SIX-YEAR-OLD Molly Nash tears about the family home near Denver, Colorado - a little girl in a huge hurry. With a newly-grown head of curly, dark hair, she makes up for lost time practising her dance steps, riding her bike and amusing her baby brother.

Just over a year ago this same vivacious child was desperately ill in hospital.

Molly was born with the genetic disorder Fanconi's anaemia, a rare hereditary condition which weakens the immune system. Sufferers usually succumb to cancer and die by the age of seven.

Molly's only hope of survival was a stem-cell transplant. Her distraught parents Jack and Lisa Nash were told the best way to save their daughter was to have a sibling who was a perfect tissue match.

Devoted to their daughter - and keen to expand their family - the Nash's did not hesitate to try to conceive using a combination of IVF and cell selection.

After several unsuccessful attempts, Adam was born on August 29, 2000.

Dubbed the 'world's first designer baby', his arrival plunged the family into a debate over ethics.

This week, with news that a British couple are also expecting a child they hope will save the life of their third-born, the Nashes are once again under scrutiny.

But now as then, their primary concern is the health of their children.

'Ethics is for the general population.

As a mother I would do whatever it takes to save my child,' says Lisa. And Jack, 36, a hotel manager, adds: 'I would advise the parents in Britain to do whatever is best for their family.

'People called us murderers because we discarded foetal cells with Fanconi's anaemia. But at the end of the day we have two healthy children.'

Molly clung to life until Adam's birth and soon after received a stemcell transplant. Initial tests show the procedure has been successful and the family are now back home after a six-month stint in hospital.

Gazing lovingly at her daughter, Lisa, a 34-year-old neonatal nurse, says: 'She's a new child. She's completely different, running around like a maniac.

She knows she can do more things and because she feels better, she is not so crabby.' After months of lying in a hospital bed, growing steadily weaker, Molly takes delight in the simple pleasures most children take for granted.

In August she went to school for the first time, aboard the yellow school bus. 'She was so excited she got up in the wee small hours and came into our bedroom asking if it was time for school yet,' says Jack. 'To Molly the most exciting thing was going on the bus. There were 30 or 40 of us waving her off.' In just the six months Molly has been out of hospital, her life has been transformed and now includes Friday-night ballet classes and horse-riding lessons she could once only dream of.

'When we first arrived back home Molly ran to play with all her toys and talk to her goldfish.

She wanted to go to her room to see her own bed and all her pop posters,' explains Lisa.

'Every day is great now because it's one more day with Molly that we didn't think we'd have.'

MOLLY and Adam, of course, share more than the typical familial bond. 'Molly knows that Adam made her better,' says Lisa. 'They love each other dearly.

When Adam sees Molly in the morning he starts squealing.' Watching the family delight in each other's company at their cosy Colorado home, it is sometimes easy to forget the torment they have been through.

When Molly was born on July 4, 1994, it was immediately apparent something was wrong. She had no thumbs, her right arm was 30 per cent smaller than her left, she had two holes in her heart and terrible gastrointestinal problems.

She was also deaf in her left ear and had to wear leg braces for six months because she had no hip sockets.

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