Parents who refused to abort their child because he had a rare genetic condition have just celebrated his second birthday.
Alfie Hillman was diagnosed with a form of Edwards’ syndrome called mosaic trisomy 18 at 27 weeks, a week before he was born.
Doctors told his parents Shane and Sharron that if he survived birth he would have no quality of life, and offered them an abortion.
But Sharron could feel Alfie moving, and they decided he “deserved a chance”.
Alfie was born weighing 1lb 3oz, and he spent the first thirteen weeks of his life in different hospitals in Wales.
He was on oxygen for eight months and still needs regular physiotherapy to help him swallow his food, but his father Shane said that Alfie “loves playing”, and is a “bundle of energy”.
“He’s the happiest, funniest baby ever and he’s always full of beans.
“He’s learnt to sit up, crawl, stand up and even say his first few words”, he added.
Mosaic trisomy 18 is a chromosomal disorder that disrupts a baby’s normal development.
Around seven in every ten babies born with this form of Edwards’ syndrome will live for at least a year and, in rare cases, babies with the condition may survive into early adulthood.
The family celebrated Alfie’s second birthday on Sunday. Doctors remain unsure about how long he will live.
“The not knowing is terrible,” Shane said.
“But we’re so grateful that he’s here with us now.”
Sharron and Shane want to raise awareness about Alfie’s progress to help support other parents who are going through similar experiences.
In Great Britain, babies diagnosed with disabilities can be legally aborted up to full term.
And in Northern Ireland, the justice minister recently recommended weakening the law to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.