Identical twin girls who could have been aborted after being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition are now 16 months old.
At 18 weeks into her pregnancy, Rachel Jones was told her children Darcy and Lilly had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, where the shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels affecting each baby’s circulation.
A few days later doctors said Rachel could have an abortion, but she said: “I didn’t have to hear any more on the subject. I knew that wasn’t an option for me.”
Instead Rachel chose pioneering prenatal laser surgery, resulting in a 45 per cent chance of survival for the babies, compared to five per cent without it.
The surgery was a success, and despite her waters breaking the next day, Lilly and Darcy were later born at 34 weeks on 24 September 2013.
They were kept in hospital for just two weeks before being allowed home, and have now reached 16 months old.
Twice as happy
Rachel said the placenta condition and her waters breaking prematurely was a “double scare”, but added that “it was all worth it as they make the entire family twice as happy”.
Last month, a couple spoke to the media about celebrating their son’s first birthday, despite being told he was a “non-viable foetus” in the womb.
Mhairi and Paul Morris were told their baby Jett was healthy at the 20-week scan, but that same evening Mhairi’s waters broke.
Doctors told the couple that going through with labour at that stage would put Mhairi at serious risk of infection, and told them to have an abortion.
But Mhairi said: “If he was still moving and his heartbeat was strong, who are we to not give him a chance? We would forever think, ‘What if?'”
“Doctors were very brutal; in no uncertain terms, they told us he was non-viable. We were just shocked. That was how blunt they were, we had to get rid of it”, she added.
Jett was born five weeks later, weighing just 1 pound 6 ounces, and after three months in hospital he was able to be taken home.
The Department of Justice in Northern Ireland recently launched a consultation on weakening the law to allow abortion in cases where the unborn child is deemed not to have a ‘viable life’.