Oh brother, where art thou..?

A COLERAINE couple made medical history today by cryogenically freezing some stem cells from the umbilical tube of their second child in South Africa – genetic insurance policy. They did it in order to treat possible future illnesses or diseases the boy might suffer from. The idea isn’t new for ‘saviour siblings’ (as another NI couple illustrated very recently), but as Marie Foy reports: “What is groundbreaking is the concept of storing stem cells in a perfectly healthy baby in case he or she ever develops illnesses later in life.” It’s hard to gauge the level of local interest in such a new and potentially revolutionary form of medicine, but the fact that people from NI are prepared to be at the forefront of genetic science is something of a wake-up call to something. To what, you can debate… Time for worried parents with cash to spare to sell the SUV and bank that umbilical cord?