Baby given 5 days to live celebrates his first birthday

A baby who was born with a rare disorder has just celebrated his first birthday, despite doctors telling his parents that he would only live for a few days.

Kerrie and Stuart Cartmill were told that their son Matthew would live for just five days after being diagnosed with a rare condition called Trisomy 13, also known as Patau’s Syndrome.

Less than ten percent of babies born with the condition live to a year and it is so rare that doctors are unable to say what the prognosis for the future is.

We will go ahead

Patau’s Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder which can lead to severe mental and physical impairment.

When she was pregnant, Mrs Cartmill refused to undergo genetic testing because of the risk of a miscarriage.

She and her husband vowed that no matter what happened they would go ahead with the pregnancy.

Looking forward

She told the Daily Mail: “We don’t know what the future holds, we just take every day as it comes.”

Speaking about Matthew she continued: “He is developing his own personality now and is so much fun to be around.”

Matthew’s story adds weight to the experience of many parents who are told incorrectly that their child will not survive or will be ‘incompatible with life’.

Compatible with life

In October last year a woman in Northern Ireland told the BBC’s Stephen Nolan show that she had carried on with her pregnancy despite her baby having a severely life-limiting disability.

Gemma Bradley’s daughter Lily Rose was diagnosed with a chromosomal condition called Trisomy 18 or Edwards’ Syndrome.

She said that although Lily Rose was stillborn, “she was compatible with life inside me and she was kicking and she was moving. I got to bury my baby, I got to hold my baby, I got to kiss my baby”.


Last year the Justice Minister for Northern Ireland David Ford announced a consultation on liberalising the law to permit abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime.

Gemma said she is against changing the abortion law because doctors “don’t honestly know themselves” if an abnormality is going to “affect the unborn child”.

She campaigns for awareness of Edward’s Syndrome, and highlighted cases of children born with the condition who have survived for days, months and years.

The Christian Institute’s Choose Life series includes stories of mothers who said no to abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

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