‘My 23-week baby proves need for lower abortion limit’

A mother whose baby son was born a week before the legal abortion limit is calling for the law to change.

Nina and Mark Hyatt’s son Dexter weighed just over a pound when he was born at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. He was given only a five per cent chance of survival.

But he is now nearly nine months old, having gone through 22 blood transfusions, brain bleeds and a gut infection.

Fully formed

The Hyatts think many are unaware that at 23 weeks a baby in the womb is fully formed.

Nina said: “Dexter is proof that they are not just a foetus.

“I really hope my story will help lower the legal abortion limit and that’s another reason why we want to get Dexter’s story across.”


She explained: “Some people never get to meet their hero, but I gave birth to mine.”

Nina discovered she was pregnant with Dexter just five months after their premature daughter Lucy died.

Eight weeks after Dexter was born, he was transferred to Stoke Mandeville hospital, where doctors are still monitoring his progress.

Christmas present

He will suffer from chronic lung disease until at least the age of five, and has an eye disorder that could lead to permanent blindness.

Nina said it would be “the best Christmas present ever to have him come home”.

Nina is just one of several mothers who have called for the current 24-week abortion limit to be reduced in recent months, after giving birth to very premature babies who have survived.


In August, data was released showing that the number of babies who survive after being born at 23 weeks is rising.

According to responses to freedom of information requests, at least 120 babies born at 23 weeks have survived in the last four years.

Dr Martin Ward Platt, a consultant neonatologist, last month revealed that at his hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne around 60 per cent of babies born at 23 weeks over the past six years have survived.

Out of date

He also said he had known of two babies that were born at 22 weeks and survived.

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce recently warned that the 24-week abortion limit is “out of date”, and said people who disagree are failing to account for the “successes and breakthroughs being achieved at the biggest centres with the most expertise”.

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