Children thriving after medics branded them ‘not viable’

A little girl who was born before Britain’s legal abortion limit has celebrated her second birthday despite doctors branding her ‘not viable’.

Edie Madoc-Jones survived after battling a bleed on the brain, collapsed lungs and a hole in the heart.

Twin boys are also celebrating their first birthday after having in-womb surgery to save their lives.

Not a ‘foetus’

Baby Edie was only the size of her mother’s hand (1lb 4oz) when she was born at just 23 weeks.

Mum Nicola recalls: “I was told by medics my baby was not ‘viable’ but Edie is proof that the most tiny of babies can live a happy, healthy life.”

“I remember the doctor said a foetus isn’t viable for life until 24 weeks. We felt helpless, absolutely crushed.”

But she said: “That was my baby he was talking about and to me it wasn’t a foetus, it was our little girl.”


Edie spent 109 days in University Hospital Wales and was on life support before parents Nicola and David were allowed to bring her home.

They told medical research charity Borne that, though it was difficult to adapt after leaving the hospital, Edie’s health has been good.

it wasn’t a foetus, it was our little girl.

Mum Nicola

Babies can still legally be aborted in England, Scotland and Wales up to 24 weeks, and the NHS only consider survival to be ‘viable’ after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

It is currently legal in Great Britain to abort children up to birth if it is believed that the baby will be born with a disability, which can include cleft lip or palate.


Last year, twin brothers Roma and Reeve were diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome at 16 weeks – a rare condition causing one twin to receive more blood than the other.

Mum Sherrie said was told at 21 weeks that with in-womb surgery, “there was a 60 per cent chance of one of them surviving – but if we didn’t have it, they’d both die.

“Even if they did survive there was a possibility they would have been starved of oxygen and end up brain-damaged.”

Home at last

The boys underwent laser ablation surgery to close the blood vessels causing the blood to flow from one to the other.

An MRI scan later showed that there was no brain damage to either of them, and they were born naturally at 29 weeks.

Sherrie said: “I burst into tears when I first brought them home. I couldn’t believe it was happening.

“Roma is really laid back and Reeve is the cheeky mischief maker. They get on really well and light up when they see each other.”

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