Mum rejected abortion for baby with genetic condition

A mother of a child born with two types of ‘dwarfism’ says she “didn’t even think about abortion” despite being told to consider it by medics.

Laura Whitfield describes her son Nathan as a “double dwarf” because he had two forms of growth disorder – achondroplasia and pseudoachondroplasia.

Laura was told Nathan might only live for a matter of minutes after birth, but she refused to abort and says: “I don’t believe in abortion. I could feel him moving around inside me – he was a little wriggler.”

Fairly normal

Baby Nathan’s condition is extremely rare, and it is unclear whether he will have problems linked to both forms of restricted growth.

Laura has achondroplasia, which means she has shortened limbs and a curvature of the spine, but Laura hopes Nathan will be able to live a “fairly normal life like I have had”.

She has competed for England at swimming and broke world records in the sport when she was just eleven years old.


Laura, from Sunderland, was told her son may only live for half an hour after birth and prepared herself not to see him after he was born by caesarean.

But she was overjoyed when Nathan seemed relatively healthy.

Talking about the pregnancy, she said: “I was having scans once a week because they were a little worried there could be complications.


“It wasn’t until 24 or 25 weeks that things started changing. They noticed that his measurements weren’t quite what they should be.”

She said she was told to consider abortion because of the double dwarfism, but: “I didn’t even think about abortion at any point”.

Nathan’s consultant, Dr Michael Wright, said while the two health issues have “similar names they are two very different and distinct conditions”.

“It is a very rare condition and I am not aware of anymore children in our region with it, and I have sought advice from other colleagues in other parts of the country, and they too are not aware of any other children who have both”, he said.

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