‘I didn’t want to give up on my own daughter’

Parents of a baby born with a rare brain condition have spoken about why they did not abort their daughter.

April and Mark Cook were told that their baby, Savannah, had the disorder at their 20-week scan and faced continuing the pregnancy or aborting their baby.

But April explained that abortion would mean “giving up on her and I didn’t want to give up on my own daughter”.

Funeral preparations

Their baby was reportedly diagnosed with hydranencephaly, and Mark says the family was more prepared for a funeral than bringing her home.

Medical expert Dr Todd Lovgren explained that Savannah’s condition was caused by her skull not closing and her brain then being exposed to amniotic fluid.

She’s beautiful inside and out

April Cook

April said: “She was left with pretty much not a lot left but her brain stem and that’s what’s keeping her functioning and going.”


She told a US news channel that she froze when a doctor gave her the diagnosis. But the family pressed on, and days after the birth, they were able to take Savannah home.

April, who survived breast cancer as a teenager, says of her daughter: “She’s beautiful. She’s beautiful inside and out and for someone so tiny she’s made a pretty big impact and it’s only going to get better”.

In 2014, The Christian Institute’s Choose Life series shared the story of Bonnie and Phil Walker, whose daughter Grace was diagnosed with a similar condition. Their baby died soon after birth.

Right thing to do

The couple were offered an abortion because their pregnancy was described as not “viable”.

Bonnie and Phil chose to continue: “We didn’t know how much time we’d have but we had definite peace it was the right thing to do”. Grace died 15 minutes after being born.

Speaking to The Christian Institute, the couple concluded: “It was never the wrong choice. The wrong choice would have been to take her away without ever having seen her face and known her.”

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