Mum: I couldn’t give up on my ‘incompatible with life’ baby

A mother whose son died after two days from a rare genetic condition said she wanted to give him the “best chance possible” and has no regrets about refusing to abort.

Sarah Hynes, from Dublin, was told she could have an abortion when her son Seán was diagnosed with Edward’s syndrome, or Trisomy 18, at a 20-week scan.

Doctors told Sarah and husband Stephen that Seán was “incompatible with life” – but Sarah knew “straightaway” that she wanted to choose life.

Good memories

Speaking in an interview with Irish radio station Newstalk FM last month, Sarah said: “I’m not going to lie. It was hard. We had good days and bad days. We tried our best to make good memories.”

Sarah had a high chance of a miscarriage, and it was unclear how long Seán would live outside the womb if he survived till birth.

She explained: “It’s not up to me to end his life. I’m his mother, it was my job to protect him.

Only knew love

“I wanted to give him that chance. I just couldn’t give up on him.”

Seán was born on the evening of 9 August 2014, and died two days later in the afternoon.

Sarah said: “He only knew love”.

Every Life Counts

“I know his time was short. It was only two days. But it was his life all the same”, she added.

Sarah is part of the pro-life initiative ‘Every Life Counts’, which aims to be a “valuable resource and source of hope” for parents of children diagnosed with terminal conditions.

Sarah and Stephen decided to share the story of their “little fighter” on the group’s website, in order to help other parents of Trisomy 18 children.


Sarah is also highlighting the condition through her Facebook page ‘Darling Seán – Trisomy18 Awareness’.

Last year, a mother in South Carolina spoke out against plans to allow abortion in cases of disability because her son who was born with Trisomy 18 has turned 14.

After her son Kayden was born, doctors told Marta McClanahan that if he were to live longer than a few weeks he would “do nothing” and “know nothing”.

But he is now 14 years old, has had many happy experiences and can “say momma and sign mom and dad”.

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