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:
Must Read, Parenting News
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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Thursday, December 27th, 2012
A set of 8-month-old twin girls who were conjoined at the chest, sharing a diaphragm, pericardium, and liver, are recovering after major surgery to separate them. From NBC News:
“Both Allison and Amelia are doing well, and we expect them both to enjoy full, healthy and independent lives,” said Dr. Holly L. Hedrick, the pediatric general, thoracic and fetal surgeon who led the 40-member multidisciplinary team that carried out the complex separation early last month. It was the 21st time that The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has separated a pair of conjoined twins.
Allison is home with her parents now, while Amelia remains in the hospital.
“The separation was successful because of the bravery of the family and the team,” Hedrick said Thursday. ”I’m convinced that Allison, the smaller twin, is the tougher one. She was the first to have her drainage tube removed and first to be discharged. Amelia also tough but a little more laid back. She’s the larger twin but she’s had a more challenging recovery. But she’s improving every day.”
The sisters love being held and love being together, their mother said.
“Once they are held they are happy. When they get together they are totally different babies. You can tell they are happy and relieved to be with their sister,” Shellie Tucker said. She seemed to agree with Hedrick’s take on her daughters’ personalities: “Allison is the feisty one, like her brother… kind of loud. Amelia is laid back, very serious. But once she relaxes she welcomes you with smiles every time.”
Image: Surgeons, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
Television personality Tori Spelling, who gave birth to her fourth child in late August, has been hospitalized for emergency surgery, PEOPLE.com is reporting:
“Tori underwent emergency surgery over the weekend due to complications from her c-section,” her rep tells PEOPLE. “She remains in the hospital and is resting comfortably.”
The delivery of son Finn Davey on Aug. 30 was Spelling’s fourth caesarean section – and her second within a year. (Daughter Hattie arrived last October.)
Image: Tori Spelling, via Brad Camembert / Shutterstock.com
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Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
CNN.com is reporting on the inspiring story of a newborn baby whose life-threatening intestinal obstruction was corrected not through major, invasive surgery, but through an innovative technique using magnets:
A thin, hard membrane was blocking a section of [newborn, 4-pound] Patrick’s intestines — the result of a rare birth defect called rectal atresia that occurs in one out of every 5,000 babies.
“We need to remove it,” the doctor told the couple.
[Dr. Eric] Scaife described to Patrick’s worried parents a long, technically difficult surgery. Patrick would be cut open through his abdomen and vertically along his tailbone. Once inside, Scaife would remove the membrane and then piece together two sections of intestines.
He had his concerns. It was a big operation on a little baby. The surgery might cause scarring, or it might injure nerves in Patrick’s pelvis that could lead to incontinence.
If Patrick was Scaife’s son, what would he do? Divricean asked the surgeon.
Scaife told her he’d think on it and give them an answer the next week.
“Hopefully, they’ll come up with something that will save Patrick or will give us a better option at least,” Divricean thought as she waited for the week to pass.
A week later, Scaife had an idea.
Instead of removing Patrick’s blockage, he wanted to break through it — with two powerful magnets.
In the hands of children, strong magnets have proven dangerous, even deadly. When swallowed, they’ve passed into the intestines, and their attraction to each other has forged a hole in tissues.
It occurred to Scaife that in the skilled hands of a surgeon, magnets might be a useful tool instead of a hazard. If he placed a magnet on either side of Patrick’s blockage, their attraction might make a hole and destroy the membrane, allowing stool to pass.
Scaife’s idea was untested and unproven — but if it worked, Patrick wouldn’t need surgery.
Read on for the whole story.
Image: Surgeon, via Shutterstock
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