THE parents of a York boy with a rare medical condition have said they are delighted to be expecting a baby sister for him.
William Rhodes, five, has had about 80 blood transfusions and bravely undergoes lengthy medical treatments every week for Diamond Blackfan Anaemia (DBA) – a rare condition which means he may become very seriously ill if he does not find a match for a bone marrow transplant before his teenage years.
The Acomb Primary School pupil’s best chance would be if his parents Caroline, 35, and Ben, 30, have genetic screening and IVF to have a tissue-matched baby – which despite two attempts has not yet been successful.
However, his parents have revealed they are now expecting a baby sister for William at Easter. Tests have confirmed she has not inherited the same condition as William.
However, the baby girl will not be a match for William, so the couple will continue with IVF as soon as is possible, said Caroline.
Caroline, of Holgate, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be having another baby and the fact the baby is not affected by DBA. William is really excited – that we can give him a baby sister is a really big deal.
“We were worried the IVF would keep failing and I would get to an age we would have to give up and William would not have a brother or sister.
“The idea is to get through this and start with the IVF again.”
If they are able to have a baby which is a match for William, cells from the baby’s umbilical cord could be used to allow a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant.
His parents have been told the chances of them having a healthy baby which is also a match for William are slim due to his genetic make-up but they say they remain hopeful and will continue to try.
Over the last few years well-wishers in the city and further afield have raised many thousands of pounds to allow the treatment for William.