By James Tozer
Like most parents, they would give anything to help their daughter.
But Jasmine Mirza’s mother and father have given her more than most – she is the first child in Britain to receive organ transplants from both parents.
The five-year- old is recovering well after being given one of her mother’s kidneys, and already has a portion of her father’s liver.
Yesterday the couple spoke of their joy at being able to give Jasmine the gift of a normal life and said the operations had strengthened the bond between them.
'Part of us': Jasmine Mirza with father Sohrab Mirza and mother Cathie Locke
‘She is more part of us now than she ever would have been,’ said her father, Sohrab, 38.
‘As a parent, you would always say you would give an arm and a leg to help your children. It
is amazing that we have been able to do that.’
Diagnosed with liver failure at seven months, Jasmine has spent more than a quarter of her short life in hospital, but thanks to her parents’ sacrifices she has now started school.
Mr Mirza, who works for a financial services firm, opted to give his daughter part of his liver rather than wait for a donor organ to become available.
She was given around 30 per cent of his in an operation at King's College Hospital in London. The liver tissue will grow with her, while his liver has regenerated.
Jasmine required daily doses of drugs, but her condition began to improve.
‘It was amazing to be offered the opportunity and then to do it and see her so well,’ said Mr Mirza yesterday. However, last year the family, who live in Farnborough, Hampshire, were hit by a new blow – Jasmine’s kidneys had begun to fail.
It appeared they had been affected by the drugs Jasmine was taking to prevent her body rejecting her father’s liver.
Her mother Cathie, 33, had to take her to hospital in London four times a week for dialysis treatment.
The prospect of having to wait months, or possibly years, for a suitable organ to be donated led her husband to put himself forward again as a candidate to donate an organ.
But after tests, doctors told him that his kidneys were not suitable. His wife then stepped forward and was accepted as a potential donor.
In October a kidney was taken from Mrs Mirza at Guy’s Hospital and carried across London to Jasmine, who was being treated at St Thomas’.
The surgery was not without risk, however – Mrs Mirza’s procedure lasted three hours, but the operation on Jasmine lasted ten.
‘It was always in the back of your mind,’ Mr Mirza said. ‘We could have gone ahead and I could have lost both girls.’
To their joy, the operation was again a success, and Jasmine was able to return to North Farnborough Infant School in January.
The only sign of her illness now is a feeding tube through her nose, which her parents hope can be removed shortly.
Doctors treating her say they have never come across a case of a child receiving ‘living’ organ donations from both parents.
The NHS Blood and Transplant agency said it was ‘very, very rare’ for anyone to receive transplants from their mother and father. The couple said Jasmine’s treatment had been excellent throughout but said their experience underlined the importance of registering as an organ donor.
‘Jasmine’s recovery is all credit to the NHS,’ said Mr Mirza. ‘We all complain when you have to go to accident and emergency and wait for hours. We’ve done it ourselves.
‘But when you are on a hospital ward in a specialist hospital, what they do is amazing.’ Mrs Mirza added: ‘Jasmine is getting there, but on the emotional side our lives have been on hold for such a long time.
‘Now we are looking forward to getting back to normality.’