Chinese Woman Terminates Her Pregnancy to Save Brother’s Life

Having to decide between saving your unborn child or your brother is a choice no person should ever have to make, but it’s exactly what a young Chinese woman recently went through. Her touching story has been doing the rounds online, leaving millions of people wondering what they would have done in her place.

24-year-old Yang Li, from Hangzhou City, was already three months pregnant when she received news that her brother, Yang Jun, 29, was going to die unless he received a bone marrow transplant. He had been diagnosed with lymphoma in September 2015, and had since undergone 5 chemotherapy sessions, 18 radiotherapy sessions as well as an autologous bone marrow transplant. The treatment was deemed a success, but in July of this year, an examination revealed the recurrence of the lymphoma. Doctors told Jun that his only chance of survival was a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, and that his sister was a perfect match.

Having to break the news to his little sister, knowing she was pregnant, was the hardest thing Jun ever had to do. But at the same time, he thought about his own 7-year-old daughter who would otherwise have to grow up without a father, and about his wife. With tears in his eyes, he told Li that she was his last chance.

While discussing the implication of undergoing transplant surgery in her condition, Yang Li learned that the procedure could have a significant negative effect on the fetus, and doctors advised her that the best decision would be to choose between her unborn child and her brother.

The thought of giving up her first baby after imagining herself holding it in her arms so many times weighed heavy on Yang Li’s mind, but she couldn’t abandon her brother either. Not after all he had done for her ever since she was a little girl.

“Growing up in a small village in Henan Province, our family’s condition was very poor, so I had to go live with my aunt,” Li recalled in a recent interview. “Jun was already working in Hangzhou at the time, and whenever he came home, he always came to see me and bring me gifts.”

After graduating high-school, Yang Li joined also moved to Hangzhou in search of a job. “When I first arrived in Hangzhou, I found a job in a beauty salon. My brother was so concerned for my safety, that he would come and pick me up from work every day. If I did not have enough to eat, he would take me to the supermarket and buy me all these delicious things,” the young woman remembered. Even though she was a long way from her parent, she always had her brother to look after her.

After consulting with her husband and her in-laws, Yang Li finally made the painful decision to terminate her pregnancy and undergo the transplant surgery. “This is my brother’s last chance to survive. I have to save him!” she told them.

On October 3rd, Yuan Li had an induced abortion, and is currently recuperating so she can donate bone marrow to her brother. A date for the transplant has not been set yet, as doctors are waiting for Li’s body to recover completely.

Doctors are very optimistic about the outcome of the stem cell transplant, as Yang Li and Yang Jun are a perfect match. Provided Jun makes it through the critical 100 days after the operation, when the body is more prone to infection and other complications, he should be ok.

Unfortunately for Yang Jun, the procedure itself is not the only concern. He has already spent around 300,000 RMB ($44,500) on his cancer treatment so far, which depleted all his savings and put him 200,000 RMB ($30,000) in debt. The upcoming operation and the medical costs of his recovery are expected to cost an extra 400,000 RMB ($60,000).

Dr. Cao Lihong has already asked kind-hearted people to make any contribution they can to help the brother and sister make it through this terrible challenge.

This story has polarized Chinese social media, with many calling yang Li a hero for terminating her pregnancy to save her big brother, while others have criticized her for the decision.

Sources: Best China News, Daily Mail

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