A mother who has undergone controversial IVF treatment to create a baby genetically similar to her four-year-old son, is now several months pregnant.

Michelle Whitaker and her husband Jayson, who have family in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, were desperate to create a baby that could provide their son Charlie with a life-saving stem cell transplant. Their requests for the right to use an IVF technique that would result in such a baby were turned down by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). But they continued their search for the treatment until the Reproductive Genetic Institute in Chicago agree to carry out the procedure. Doctors used the latest in genetic technology to select embryos which were a near-perfect tissue match for Charlie, who suffers from a rare blood disorder called Diamond Blackfan Anaemia. The condition, which is believed to affect just 700 people worldwide, causes a build-up of iron which without treatment could be fatal. Sufferers are given a life expectancy of only 20 years at the most. To keep Charlie alive, he has to undergo blood transfusions every three weeks and endure painful 12 hour injections into his stomach five times a week to combat the build-up of iron. Now Michelle, from Oxfordshire, is several months pregnant, after two embryos were successfully implanted in her womb in October last year. Her mother June Kynoch, who lives in Chester-le-Street, said even if Charlie does get cured, she will continue with her dedicated fund-raising efforts to pay for research into the condition. She said: "Michelle is pregnant and it's all going to plan, we're chuffed to bits. "Even if Charlie does get cured, I'll still raise money for those that aren't as lucky as him. I can't give up now. "There's no full-time research into the condition at the moment, so we've contacted a researcher. But we need £50,000 a year to fund this full-time research." June has organised a sponsored coast-to-coast cycle ride in May to raise money for the research, which she will be taking part in. Last year she raised several thousands pounds with 15 other cyclists by successfully completing the three day journey, from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Sunderland.