Unborn baby removed from mother-to-be's womb for treatment and then put back in groundbreaking operation
The 26-year-old and her husband Kieron were given the option to terminate the pregnancy before they learned that another procedure could be performed for the baby's treatment
A mother-to-be has undergone a groundbreaking operation where her unborn baby was taken out of her womb for treatment and then put back inside, according to reports. The mother, Bethan Simpson, agreed to get the procedure on the infant after tests revealed that the baby had spina bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect where there is an incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord.
The 26-year-old mother and her husband Kieron were reportedly given the option to terminate the pregnancy before they learned that another procedure could be performed for the baby's treatment.
The particular procedure, until now, has been carried out only in Belgium. However, Bethan is one of the few mothers who has been operated on by a team of Belgian and UK surgeons in London, according to the Mirror. Bethan got to know about her baby's birth defect during a routine 20-week scan that showed the infant's head was not the right measurement.
After the scan's revelation, she was directed to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, where the baby was diagnosed with spina bifida, a condition which could affect the child's ability to walk.
Pregnant woman whose baby has spina bifida has pioneering surgery to correct the birth defect: Bethan Simpson, 26, of Burnham, Essex, was first advised to terminate her pregnancy when doctors discovered her baby had the birth defect spina bifida during… https://t.co/8hcE6nzFKA pic.twitter.com/fAGy06eeie— RushReads (@RushReads) February 11, 2019
"Our midwife made an appointment in London. Fast forward 48 hours, we were in London having scans on her head and spine. With that, we were told our little girl had spina bifida. We were offered continuing pregnancy, ending the pregnancy or a new option called fetal surgery — fixing her before she is born. We had to do it. We also had to meet some seriously strict criteria," the mother said.
"Baby and I went through amniotic fluid tests, MRIs and relentless scans. We got approved and we planned for surgery. Our lives were such a rollercoaster for the next few weeks," she added.
Bethan had the surgery nearly 24 weeks into her pregnancy as specialists from University College Hospital Great Ormond Street Hospital in London played an important role in the treatment. Reports stated that Bethan is only the fourth mother in the UK to get this kind of operation done.
"I had the most recognized surgeons from around the world from University College London Hospital and Belgium looking after me," Bethan said.
The surgery involved removing the baby from the womb and repairing the spinal cord so the child had a greater chance of a normal life. The child was then placed back inside Bethan's womb to complete the full term of her pregnancy.
"Sadly 80% of babies in England are terminated when their parents are told their baby has this condition. It's not a death sentence. She has the same potential as every one of us. Yes, there are risks of things going wrong but please think more about spina bifida, it's not what it used to be. I feel our baby kick me day in and day out, that's never changed. She's extra special, she's part of history and our daughter has shown just how much she deserves this life," the 26-year-old proud mother added.