‘Take their hand, not their life’, say parents of daughter with trisomy 18

A girl who was born with Edwards’ syndrome, or trisomy 18, has gone on to defy doctors’ expectations and is now in ‘excellent health’.

Parents Jennifer and Andrew only found out the diagnosis when their daughter Melody was born. The married couple had gone for several ultrasound tests during the pregnancy, but trisomy 18 was never spoken of.

“Three very sombre doctors entered our room and got right to the point,” Jennifer told Live Action News.

‘No expectation’

Trisomy 18 is a chromosomal disorder that disrupts a baby’s normal development.

Jennifer said that doctors painted a “grim” picture of their expectations for Melody.

“They did give her emergency care in the hospital, but then they sent her home”, the mum said, “with no expectation that she would live”.


But Melody is now four years old and thriving.

Her parents said that despite being “more vulnerable” than their other children, Melody’s cognitive capacity is ‘constantly increasing’ and they “rejoice in her current strength and good health”.

Jennifer also shared her belief that it is “entirely absurd” to describe children with trisomy 18 as incapable of living.

“When they are labelled ‘incompatible with life’, tragic results ensue, and these little ones are robbed of the opportunity to have any hope of living”.

Pressure for abortion

“The first danger is the propensity for the medical community to pressure for abortion. The picture painted for a baby in the womb with Trisomy 18 is grim and horrific,” she added.

Jennifer went on to say: “They will need more support, and they will be more fragile. Yet, they need us to ‘take their hand, not their life’”.

In the UK, Edwards’ syndrome occurs in around one in 3,000 to 6,000 live births and usually just one in every twelve babies born with it survive beyond their first twelve months.

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