Parents choose life for son, defying doctors’ advice

A US couple have shared the incredible story of how they chose life for their son whose brain was found growing outside his skull.

Bentley Yoder was born with the rare condition encephalocele.

Doctors did not anticipate Bentley would survive long past birth and his parents Sierra and Dustin Yoder say they were urged to consider getting an abortion because of the disorder.

Abortion advised

Encephalocele causes a baby’s brain to grow outside the skull due to the bone not forming completely.

Mum Sierra revealed how doctors said Bentley would ‘not be compatible with life’ if he survived and suggested aborting him.

At first the couple agreed, before realising it would be wrong.


The night before the scheduled abortion, Sierra told her husband that she couldn’t go through with it.

“He had a big sigh of relief. He was very happy,” she said.

Bentley is now ten months old, defying doctors’ predictions that he would not survive beyond birth and that he would have no quality of life.


He underwent what his neurosurgeon called a “lifesaving procedure” in May at Boston Children’s Hospital, where a large part of his brain was pushed back into the skull.

Bentley still has trouble breathing, but after further surgery to remove a blockage his condition has greatly improved.

Sierra said his doctors now think, “he will have a rewarding life. We just have to take it step by step”.

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