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Couple's reproduction marathon to save eldest daughter

By Jin Dan and Ma Chi (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-09-07 16:28 Comments

Couple's reproduction marathon to save eldest daughter

Qianqian (anonymous) and her three younger brothers at the ward of Shenzhen Children's Hospital, in South China's Guangdong province, Sept6, 2016. [Photo/IC]

New birth brings hope. This could be understood better for a couple when their eldest daughter's serious disease could be cured with the umbilical cord blood from their newborn baby, the fourth child in the family and also their third child in four years.

Zhuang Weixiang, a migrant worker in Shenzhen city in South China's Guangdong province, and his wife had their first child in 2009. But the happiness vanished within one year when their baby girl Qianqian (anonymous) was diagnosed as thalassemia, a blood disorder that can result in severe anemia, feeling tired, pale skin and slow growth.

The news stunned the whole family. Some relatives suggested Zhuang give up on Qianqian, whose life could only be sustained by blood transfusion once every two weeks. That may cost all fortune, particularly when the family already led a distressful life with a monthly income of just 3,000 yuan ($450).

But Zhuang refused. "She is my first child. I can't discard her life like this. I will try my best to keep her alive till my last breath, despite of any economic obstacles," he said.

But the costly blood transfusions were not a permanent solution to Qianqian's illness. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the only way to save her from the nightmare. And the best source of the hematopoietic stem cell is the cord blood of her siblings.

The couple hastily reproduced a child in 2011 on hearing about the treatment. Unfortunately, the cord blood type of the second child, a son, doesn't match that of his sister.

Another son was born the following year, but, once again, luck alluded the family.

By the end of 2014, the lucky star of the family, the third son came into the world, whose umbilical cord blood had been reserved at the cord blood bank of Guangdong province for his sister's later transplantation.

On June 24 this year, the cord blood was transported from the blood bank to Shenzhen Children's Hospital, where Qianqian would have the transplantation.

Before the transplantation, Zhuang accompanied his daughter in the quarantine for 36 days and lost 8kg. "It was a test of mentality for me," said Zhuang.

In the midst of all the misfortune, Qianqian's transplantation operation was luckily successful, which means all the economic and psychological suffering in the past seven years and the laborious efforts to reproduce three children in four years finally paid off.

But Zhuang has to work even harder to raise money for Qianqian's following antiviral therapy which may cost him another 100,000 yuan although he already paid 210,000 yuan for the transplantation operation.

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