Another baby born after ‘groundbreaking’ in-womb spina bifida surgery

Another baby has been born in the UK after undergoing in-womb spina bifida surgery.

Augustine Somers, who was diagnosed with spina bifida at 22 weeks, underwent surgery just days before the 26-week procedure deadline.

Early tests suggest he now has a good chance of being able to walk.


The surgery uses tiny stitches to repair the gap in the unborn baby’s spinal cord that causes paralysis.

The procedure has only recently become available in the UK. The first two operations took place in October.

Parents Amanda and Benjamin were unable to have the procedure for Augustine in England, but were put in touch with Belgian doctor Professor Jan Deprest who pioneered the surgery.


The surgery has been described as “absolutely groundbreaking”.

Mum Amanda said: “They used a solution to ‘float’ the baby to the top of the womb so that only the back was exposed. He was still in the amniotic fluid when they closed three layers – the spinal layer, dural sheath then skin to close up.”

Since his birth on 18 December, Augustine has shown significant leg movements and reflexes. Doctors are optimistic that he will be able to bear his own weight.


A 2012 study by The National Centre for Biotechnology Information in the US revealed that 63 per cent of babies diagnosed with spina bifida are aborted.

According to spina bifida charity ‘Shine’, more than 200 children are born with the condition every year in the UK.

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