Several months ago I was reading newspaper articles online when I came across the story of Chloe Levine, the Colorado toddler who was seemingly cured of cerebral palsy after a cord blood transplantation using her own cord blood that her parents had stored for her at birth.
She had been unable to crawl or walk, her speech was poor and her right hand was permanently clenched. She had her cord blood re-infused and within four days, her speech improved and her hand started to relax. She can now ride a bike. I reflected upon what my own life might have been like today if my mother had been given the option of cord blood transplantation for me.
I was born three months premature in the 1970’s. At 18 months old and still unable to walk, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
A taxi driver asked me once if there was an operation to "fix that". I laughed and told him that there isn’t a cure for brain damage. Now, it seems science has overtaken nature and for Chloe Levine and other children like her, there IS a cure for brain damage. So why don’t I forgo my holiday and use the money to have a stem cell transplant to try and cure myself of cerebral palsy?
A decorator I hired told me he knew I’d grab a cure if there was one and he bet I hated being disabled. I told him that no, in fact I did not want to change. He was stunned at my response, looking at it only from an able perspective. So why am I perfectly happy having cerebral palsy?
The Unethical Past of Stem Cell Research
Stem cell transplantation originally came about through abortions, either directly by using the tissue of a baby who had been terminated or indirectly by using embryos that are leftover from the IVF process. Although many people are pro-choice and see nothing wrong in this, I see an unborn baby as a person. At the moment of conception, the blueprint of life is there, including what color eyes and hair the child will have. At three weeks, the heart is beating. I would not want any unborn baby to lose his or her life, partially on account of myself.