Newborn baby in need of life-saving transplant is saved by mother’s twin … – Daily

  1. Star Reader was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia within days of being born

  2. The baby’s bile ducts were blocked – a condition which can prove fatal

  3. Neither of her parents were suitable candidates for partial liver transplant

  4. Her maternal aunt Shanell was the best chance she had at survival

  5. Star underwent operation in Leeds in November and has since recovered  

By Lucy Laing For Mailonline Published: 13:43 EST, 5 April 2015 Updated: 13:44 EST, 5 April 2015

A newborn baby with a life-threatening liver condition has been saved after undergoing a transplant from her mother’s twin sister.

Star Reader was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia within days of being born in Barnsley, West Yorkshire.

After undergoing an operation to have her bile ducts unblocked, her parents, Jade Reader and Matthew Bygrave, were told the infant would need a liver transplant in order to survive.

Jade Reader (left) said she was ‘overcome with emotion’ when her twin sister Shanell (right) gave up part of her liver to save niece Star

With neither parent a suitable match, her maternal aunt Shanell Reader offered part of her organ, and has since saved her niece’s life.

Star’s parents feared she was unwell after noticing her skin turning a yellowy tinge shortly after birth.

While jaundice is common among babies, the colour did not leave her little body for weeks, prompting doctors to run tests on her liver.

‘We didn’t think it was anything serious at first. Matthew had jaundice when he was a baby and he just had to go back into hospital and go under a lamp,’ said Miss Reader, 24.

Doctors discovered the baby’s bile ducts were blocked, a condition that can prove fatal if untreated.

Following an unsuccessful attempt to unclog them, a liver transplant was the family’s only option.

Within days of being born, Star’s parents knew something was wrong when she her skin turned a yellowy tinge

While the baby’s mother was not a suitable match, her twin sister proved an ideal candidate. They are pictured as children

‘We were utterly shocked when we were told what Star had. We had never thought it was anything like that.

‘When we knew that it could be life-threatening it was devastating. She was only a few weeks old and yet we may lose her,’ said her mother.


Biliary atresia affects about 1 in 16,000 babies at birth. In this condition, bile ducts are either blocked or absent.

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