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When There's Only Enough Cord Blood to Cure One Twin—How Do You Choose?
By Moira McMahon, Researcher
In episode 313, Shotgun, Cooper and Addison are caught in a Sophie's Choice—only one of the identical twins they are caring for will live.
Kelli and Niki have leukemia. Their best chance of survival is cord blood from a matched sibling. Their parents, Jerry and Renee conceived a third child with IVF. They purposely selected an embryo that would be a transplant match for their twins. Their hope was that blood collected at the birth—from the umbilical cord—would provide stem cells they could use to put their twins' cancer into remission.
But when their baby was born, there wasn't as much cord blood as they thought. There was only enough to treat on of the twins. Which one should they choose?
Niki is worse off than her sister. Her leukemia has recurred. Niki is so sick, that it may be too late for her, even if she does get the transplant. In that case they would lose both twins. Kelli is currently in remission. Her chances of responding to the treatment are good. She's the "better bet." But is saving a child really about statistics?
Their Dad, Jerri, admits that if he had to choose, he would choose Kelli. For Jerri, a choice has to be made and he's willing to make it. For his wife, Renee, to pick one child over the other is unthinkable. Addison and Cooper remind Jerri and Renee that they have three children. And parenting means making hard decisions. They have to face realities that aren't easy. And right now, they have a newborn boy who needs them and two children who are critically ill. They have the chance to save one. They can't let that go to waste.
So, they choose. Kelli gets the stem cell transplant. Niki is left without treatment for now.
Did her parents make the right decision?
Faced with the same dilemma, what would you do?