An American mother has decided to carry her terminally-ill baby daughter to full term – knowing the child will live only a few hours – so that her organs can be donated to those who need them.
For the next 20 weeks she will feel the baby’s kick, have the hiccups and we’ll be able to hear its perfect heart beating, all while knowing they will only get a few short hours with the baby when it is born
Keri Young and her husband Royce went for an ultra-sound scan at 19 weeks but were devastated to learn that the child had a terminal condition known as anencephaly.
The baby, who they named Eva, will be born without a fully-developed brain and is expected to die within hours of her birth.
Keri and Royce weighed whether to induce an early pregnancy and move on with their lives but decided instead to take the pregnancy to full-term so that the child’s organs could be donated, reports The Telegraph.
“This is our daughter’s perfect heart. She has perfect feet and perfect hands. She has perfect kidneys, perfect lungs and a perfect liver. Sadly, she doesn’t have a perfect brain,” Mrs. Young wrote on Facebook.
“We found out recently she has anencephaly and is terminal. Faced with terrible options we have decided to continue the pregnancy to full term so Eva, which literally means life, can grow strong and give life to multiple people through organ donation.
Doctors told the couple that the baby’s heart valves could be donated to someone who needed them, along with her kidneys, liver and possibly her pancreas. Her lungs could also be donated for scientific research.
In a series of Facebook posts, Mrs. Young describes how she and her husband wrestled with the decision.
“The reality of feeling her kick for 20 weeks was very much settling in. Strangers excitedly asking me about my stomach and friends not knowing how to treat us were devastating to think about,” Mrs. Young wrote.
After discussions with their pastor, the pair decided that Eva’s short life could save many others and they committed to carrying through.
“I made him shake on it. Decision made. We were continuing on with the pregnancy. Eva will have life even though it will be short. She’ll donate anything she can and do more in her time on earth than I ever will,” Mrs. Young wrote.
The baby is due on May 7.