The world’s most premature baby to survive has been officially recognised by Guinness World Records.
Last July, Curtis Means was born in Birmingham, Alabama, 19 weeks early at just 21 weeks and one day, weighing a mere 14.8oz – less than half a bag of sugar.
Mum Michelle gave birth to twins, but the other boy, named C’Asya, died the following day.
Curtis was given less than one per cent chance of survival, and doctors prepared to offer Michelle ‘compassionate care’, allowing her to spend time holding her child before he died.
But Curtis clung to life in a neonatal intensive care unit, using a ventilator to help him breathe for the first three months after birth.
After 275 days in hospital, the tiny tot was eventually discharged and allowed to go home in April this year.
Michelle said: “Being able to finally take Curtis home and surprise my older children with their younger brother is a moment I will always remember.”
Curtis still needs a feeding tube and supplemental oxygen, but doctors say he is in good health.
Dr Brian Sims, the neonatologist who oversaw the delivery, said: “I’ve been doing this almost 20 years, but I’ve never seen a baby this young be as strong as he was. There was something special about Curtis.”
The previous record for world’s youngest surviving baby was held by Richard Hutchinson, born in June 2020 at 21 weeks and two days. Prior to Richard, the record had not been broken for 34 years and was held by a baby born in Canada at 21 weeks and five days.
In the UK, it is legal to abort a baby for most reasons up to 24 weeks. In cases where the child is deemed to have a disability, this is extended all the way up to birth.