Baby given 1 in 5 chance of survival celebrates fifth birthday

A boy who was given only a 20 per cent chance of survival before his birth is now five years old.

Cody French was diagnosed with congenital diaphragmatic hernia at 20 weeks. The rare condition caused his intestines to rise up, pushing his heart out of place and leaving one lung underdeveloped.

Mum Lisa refused to abort Cody despite repeated pressure from doctors following his diagnosis.


In the UK it is legal to abort a child up to 24 weeks for most reasons.

Lisa said: “At my appointments, all I remember is [doctors saying] termination, termination, termination. They said it a good few times because they didn’t think he would survive.”

But she was determined to give her son a chance, and in 2016 he was born weighing 8.5lbs. Two days after his birth, he underwent a four-hour operation to repair the hole in his abdominal wall and reinsert his intestines.

Doctors warned that Cody may have to be connected to a machine to give his heart and lungs time to recover, but when he was only four days old he was breathing by himself. After 13 days, he was released from hospital.


Lisa said: “Now he’s really excited about starting school and I think the teachers will have their work cut out because he’s non-stop.”

She added: “He’s the light of everyone’s life and runs rings around us all – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Last month, another mother shared how glad she was that she resisted pressure to abort her baby, calling it ‘the best decision she’s ever made’.

‘No doubt’

When Rosie Higgs was pregnant, she was warned that her unborn child could have Amniotic Band Syndrome, which prevents a baby from developing normally.

She was initially upset when she discovered he would be born with just one arm and no legs, but said: “There was no doubt in my mind that I was keeping him – no matter what I was advised.”

Also see:

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‘Never give up’ says mum as baby born at 22 weeks goes home

Pro-life community cares for kids who survived abortion attempts

‘Baby Surgeons’: TV series shines light on life-saving ops

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