Ilya was born in 2009 in the town of Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, with congenital heart defects. However, thanks to surgeons and the newborn boy’s own umbilical cord blood, Ilya’s life was transformed.
Doctors first diagnosed Ilya’s heart defects in his mother, Svitlana’s 20th week of pregnancy and strongly recommended that she terminate the pregnancy. Determined to keep her unborn son, Svitlana was transferred to the Center of Children’s Cardiology and Cardiosurgery in Kyiv for a final assessment and diagnosis.
Immediately after Svitlana gave birth in September 2009 in a closely monitored Maternity Home, Ilya was taken back to this Center for open-heart surgery. During the surgery, Ilya’s own umbilical cord blood was used to provide circulation through the heart-lung machine, instead of waiting to find a blood donor match.
The surgery went well, and Ilya became the first child in the world to have open-heart surgery with the help of his own cord blood.
Compared to donated blood, a child’s own umbilical cord blood is rich in additional nutrients, stem cells and oxygen, making it a more likely source of effective treatment in surgery.
10 years on, Ilya continues to have routine examinations at the Kyiv Center of Children’s Cardiology, but is living a normal and happy life. While he is prohibited from professional sport in the future, Ilya is very active and enjoys bike riding and skateboarding.
Now I don’t even want to remember the pain and fear we had to endure…I only advise everyone I know to store umbilical cord blood to take care of the protection of children.