For The Sake of Some Umbilical Cells, an Anemic Child Gains Two Sisters

When Lea Ann and Brad Curry of Lanesville, Ind., first lifted the hands of tiny daughter Natalie, their hearts clutched. The baby's left thumb was missing, and her right thumb was useless. The radius bone was missing from the infant's left arm. The doctors' diagnosis was devastating: Fanconi's anemia. Unless Natalie received a new immune system from transplanted stem cells, the units from which all blood cells derive, she faced a short life of severe anemia and possible retardation.

The Currys didn't waste time searching for bone-marrow donors outside the family. Instead, Lea Ann got pregnant. When that fetus miscarried, Lea...

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