Monday, July 22nd, 2013
Gastroschisis–a rare birth defect in which an infant is born with a hole in his or her abdomen–is on the rise in the US, according to a large new study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. More from Reuters:
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“We have a pattern where the prevalence is very much highest among young women and it’s growing more rapidly among that group than any other group,” said Russell Kirby, a professor at the University of South Florida and the lead author of the study.
Kirby’s study could not explain why the birth defect is becoming more common, and gastroschisis itself is not well understood.
The malformation involves an opening next to the belly button, through which the baby’s intestines protrude.
Newborns with gastroschisis require immediate surgery to close the hole and put the organs back in place.
Most babies with gastroschisis survive, but Kirby said some children have problems with growth and development and there is not a lot of research about the long term outcomes for these kids.
By general estimates, the condition is relatively rare, with a rate of 2 to 3 cases per 10,000 live births in the U.S. But in recent years, studies have suggested the defect is being seen more often….
….The increase in gastroschisis primarily affected mothers under age 25, and especially under age 20, whereas those who gave birth in their 30s had no change in their risk of having a baby with the birth defect.
Mothers who had their babies in their early twenties experienced a 5.8 percent increase each year in the risk of having a child born with gastroschisis, Kirby’s group reported in the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Among these mothers, the number of babies born with gastroschisis went from 4 out of every 10,000 babies in 1995 to 7 in 10,000 babies in 2005.
Teen mothers saw a 6.8 percent yearly increase in the proportion of babies born with gastroschisis.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Surrogate pregnancy is not uncommon, and it usually ends well for all involved. But a story out of Connecticut and Michigan is almost operatic in its complexity, drama, and high stakes. CNN.com tells the story of Crystal Kelley, who acted as a gestational carrier to a Connecticut couple who wanted a fourth child and had frozen embryos from previous in vitro fertilization cycles.
Kelley became pregnant, but a routine ultrasound uncovered a number of severe birth defects in the fetus, including brain and heart abnormalities as well as a severely cleft lip and palate. The biological parents, on hearing the news, wanted Kelley to terminate the pregnancy, but Kelley refused.
After a legal battle erupted–the contract Kelley had signed stipulated “abortion in case of severe fetus abnormality,” but didn’t specify what that meant–the biological parents said they wanted to take custody of the child at birth and then turn her over to Connecticut’s state-run foster care system. The case became even more complicated when it was discovered that the couple had used an anonymous egg donor to make the embryo.
Kelley, disturbed by all options on the table, fled to Michigan, where she would be considered to be the baby’s mother under that state’s laws.
While in Michigan, Kelley gave birth to the girl and found adoptive parents for her. From CNN:
Baby S. — her adoptive parents are comfortable using her first initial — has a long road in front of her. She’s already had one open-heart surgery and surgery on her intestines, and in the next year she’ll need one or two more cardiac surgeries in addition to procedures to repair her cleft lip and palate. Later in childhood she’ll need surgeries on her jaw and ear and more heart surgeries.
Her adoptive parents, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their family’s privacy, know Baby S. might not be with them for long. The cardiac procedures she needs are risky, and her heterotaxy and holoprosencephaly, though mild, carry a risk of early death, according to doctors.
If Baby S. does survive, there’s a 50% chance she won’t be able to walk, talk or use her hands normally.
In some ways, Baby S. looks different from other 8-month-olds babies. In addition to the facial abnormalities, she’s very small, weighing only 11 pounds and she gets food through a tube directly into her stomach so she’ll grow faster.
Her adoptive parents know some people look at her and see a baby born to suffer — a baby who’s suffering could have been prevented with an abortion.
But that’s not the way they see it. They see a little girl who’s defied the odds, who constantly surprises her doctors with what she’s able to do — make eye contact, giggle at her siblings, grab toys, eye strangers warily.
“S. wakes up every single morning with an infectious smile. She greets her world with a constant sense of enthusiasm,” her mother said in an e-mail to CNN. “Ultimately, we hold onto a faith that in providing S. with love, opportunity, encouragement, she will be the one to show us what is possible for her life and what she is capable of achieving….”
….Just as there are two ways to look at Baby S., there are two ways to look at Crystal Kelley, the woman who carried her.
In one view, she’s a saint who fought at great personal sacrifice for an unborn child whose own parents did not want her to live. In another view, she recklessly absconded with someone else’s child and brought into the world a baby who faces serious medical challenges when that wasn’t her decision to make.
Image: Pregnant woman in hospital, via Shutterstock
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abortion, adoption, donor eggs, gestational surrogate, in vitro fertilization, infant surgery, special needs babies, surgery, surrogacy, surrogate | Categories:
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Friday, January 25th, 2013
Audrina Cardenes, a three-month-old Texas baby born with a rare and usually fatal condition called ectopia cordis, in which the child is born with all or part of the heart outside the body, is going home. Though 90 percent babies born with ectopia cordis die within days or are stillborn, doctors are “optimistic” after Audrina’s surgery to put her heart back into her chest. More from the New York Daily News:
Two months after her operation to place her heart back inside her chest, the baby is now ready to leave the hospital and go home with her family.
“Audrina is a true fighter and we are hopeful that she will continue to progress,” Audrina’s surgeon, Dr. Charles D. Fraser, said shortly after the risky operation. “I am also hopeful that Audrina’s case marks the beginning of our ability to care for more children diagnosed with ectopia cordis in the future.”
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