Prenatal Surgery

The Gift of Breath & Speech

When Andrea Hasse of Michigan was pregnant with her son, Grant, he was diagnosed with a condition that has about 1% chance of survival. His airways were largely blocked and he would suffer from lack of oxygen after birth. Doctors operated at 27 weeks of pregnancy and inserted a tube through his neck to open the airway. They then delivered the baby. Grant is quite healthy. At one year of age, a doctor operated to improve the airway only to discover that Grant had no vocal chords so would never speak. The parents were happy just to have Grant as healthy as he was. The surgeon was not satisfied and made two tubes from the adjacent muscles and separated them with a graft from a rib. The parents received a great thrill when Grant uttered his first word. His vocabulary is expanding. He is expected to speak clearly, but his voice may sound a bit different. His voice will be...

Another Medical Expert Confirms Unborn Children Feel Severe Pain During Abortions (2015)

On May 12, 2015, David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, was invited to speak on the science of fetal pain on Point of View radio talk show. On May 13, 2015 the United States House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act… …Dr. Prentice: That’s right. They’re going on to do this surgery on an unborn baby while still in the womb at five months or even earlier in their development. There have been a few surgeries even earlier, but they recognize that this little patient, at that point in their life – still in the womb – can experience pain. In fact, it’s interesting: the leading clinical anesthesia textbook says it’s clear that these little unborn babies can experience pain as early as 16 weeks after conception, definitely by twenty. [It says] that these little unborn babies – they use the medical term “fetus” – that they are a patient, and that it is critical to administer anesthesia directly to them. I was going to read you, this is what fetal surgeons tell the mother before they are going to go ahead and do the surgery. Listen to the almost tenderness here. It says: “You’ll be given general anesthesia, and that anesthesia will put your baby to sleep as well. In addition, during the prenatal surgery your unborn baby will be given an injection of pain medication as well medication to ensure the baby doesn’t move during the surgery.” Again, these are little patients, very tender ones, and as we said they can experience pain even more intensely...

Amazing Technology Shows Unborn Twins Jockeying for Space

Any Internet sensation—even if it colorfully over-interprets what is taking place—that further clarifies how child-like the unborn child is will always be welcomed. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/04/14/amazing-new-technology-shows-unborn-twins-jockeying-for-space/ In Utero Laser Surgery Saves Unborn Twins A tip of the hat to ABC 13 News which broadcasts in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and especially to reporter Lucy Bustamente for her terrific story about Ella and Anna Springer. The twins were born February 21 at 32 weeks and are doing fine. However, no one could be sure there would be a happy outcome when Crystal Springer, then 22 weeks pregnant, learned that her babies had a condition known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. TTTS is rare and potentially lethal, and occurs only in identical twins. In TTTS one sibling, called the recipient, takes too much blood from the other–the “donor twin”–who can suffer stunted growth as a result, or die. More specifically, “The shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels, which connect the umbilical cords and circulations of the twins,” according to the Twin to Twin Transfusion Foundation. “The common placenta may also be shared unequally by the twins, and one twin may have a share too small to provide the necessary nutrients to grow normally or even survive.” When Mrs. Springer and husband Nick, a sailor on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, learned that Ella and Anna had TTTS, “I felt like I failed them,” Mrs. Springer told Bustamente. “I thought I did something wrong to cause this.” But “they went right from the doctor’s office to Eastern Virginia Medical School to meet with Jena Miller, MD, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist,” Bustamente explained. Dr. Miller...

Surgery for the Unborn Proves Impressively Successful

Babies with a severe congenital spinal cord defect (called a “myelomeningocoele”) are at high risk of developing permanent brain and spinal cord damage, if the defect is not repaired soon after birth. Recently a consortium of world-renowned pediatric hospital centers have investigated whether performing surgery on a baby, while he or she is still in the womb, would be safe. These surgeons found that prenatal surgery (surgery while the baby is still in the womb) is not only as safe as waiting until right after birth, but it actually results in better outcomes. Babies with myelomeningocoeles often need to have ‘shunts’ placed, in order to release pressurized water which is accumulating around their brain (hydrocephalus). Those babies, who had undergone surgery before they were born, later needed to have a shunt placed less often. Three years later (30 months after surgery), the babies who had undergone surgery in the womb were functioning at a higher level, with better motor skills and less need for leg braces, than were those babies whose surgery had been delayed until after they were born. And this improvement occurred despite the fact that the babies who underwent surgery before they were born happened to have, on the whole, more serious spinal defects than those who had their surgery after they were born. These improved results, from performing surgery before birth, were so striking that the investigators stopped the study early, in order to share the good news. This surgery is very serious, whether performed before or after birth. Two babies died in each group. Babies who underwent surgery in the womb were at higher...

That Little Hand from the Womb: Samuel Armas Still Reaching Out for Life (2009)

That Little Hand from the Womb: Samuel Armas Is Still Reaching Out for Life This remarkable boy told the reporter interviewing him that he knew that photograph gave countless babies their 'right to live'. Samuel Armas still has strong hands. Here he is pictured during his first surgery which took place in the womb. Today, nine years later, he is fond of white water rafting. He is also happy to have become a symbol of the truth about the Right to Life.  “Pictures speak louder than words” goes the old adage. And, there is no doubt it is true. Most of us who are called “boomers”, and this writer is included among them, remember the extraordinary photo of 9 year old Phan Thị Kim Phúc, a little Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm bomb attack on her village in South Vietnam. It was taken by AP photographer Nick Út and became a visual rallying cry during the Vietnam years. Good photos have a way of saying much more than words alone can ever express. They also become associated with human rights movements, becoming a catalyst for major social change. So it is with the photograph of a little hand from a little boy. It was extending from the first home of his mothers womb and grasping the hand of a surgeon who was performing surgery upon him at the age of 21 weeks to correct spina bifida. It has become one of the most powerful images in the human rights struggle of our age, the struggle to stop the killing of innocent children in the womb through intentional abortion. In...

Leading Researcher Confirms Unborn Children Can Feel Pain at 20 Weeks

As people in India join a national abortion debate following an appeals court’s rejection of a couple’s request for a late-term abortion, the issue of fetal pain is coming into play. One aspect of the debate revolves around whether or not unborn children have the capacity to feel pain. Kanwaljeet Anand, a pediatrician and fetal pain specialist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, is considered the top American expert on the subject. Anand has conducted research on the subject for over two decades and he also happens to be a native Indian. Anand told the Telegraph of India newspaper that scientists have seen how operations and other procedures involving unborn children in the womb have shown clear evidence that a baby feels pain before birth. “The evidence is undeniable,” he told the newspaper. “Even a 20-week foetus is likely to feel pain, and excruciating pain.” He told the newspaper he thinks unborn children even have the ability to feel more intense pain, including in an abortion, than newborn babies, children or even adults. “This is because pain transmission pathways have developed in the foetus, but not the pain modulation pathways that are not effective until six weeks after birth,” he explained. “There is more than enough evidence now. But no one is as blind as someone who doesn’t want to see,” he said, adding that not all doctors have been convinced by his studies. [6 August 08, Ertelt, www.LifeNews.com #4386, Bombay,...

Keyhole Surgeons Save Babies in the Womb

A PIONEERING new form of keyhole surgery will be used to save the lives of dozens of unborn babies every year, Scotland on Sunday can reveal. The remarkable technique involves a ‘fetoscope’ about the width of three grains of sugar which is used to internally examine babies while they are still in the womb. The resulting images will allow Scottish doctors to perform surgical and other procedures on fetuses – many of whom would otherwise die – from as little as 24 weeks’ gestation. At this point, the fetus would fit in the palm of an adult man’s hand and probably only just be opening its eyes. Operations using the £70,000 fetoscope will be performed by a team of experts at Scotland’s national centre for diagnosing and treating pregnancy complications, the Department of Fetal Medicine at the Queen Mother’s Hospital, Yorkhill, Glasgow. The development, which makes the Glasgow centre the only one outside London to carry out the procedures, has been hailed by birth charities as “amazing”. One new procedure will correct abnormalities in the placenta that occur in twin pregnancies and result in one twin taking all the blood supply. Using the new scope and a laser, it will be possible to separate the blood vessels. Dr Alan Cameron, a consultant in fetal medicine at the hospital, said: “We can diagnose and treat problems from a very early stage to late in pregnancy and we have been at the forefront of some tests and techniques. “Fetoscopy is keyhole surgery using fibre optics to look at the baby directly. We have already bought the equipment to carry out the...

Fetal Care Center: Expert Care for Patients with Complex Fetal Conditions

Cincinnati Fetal Center is one of only a few comprehensive fetal care centers in the world. Led by physicians from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital and University of Cincinnati Medical Center, our team specializes in treating complex and rare fetal conditions. We offer sophisticated testing and innovative treatment options to achieve the best possible outcomes for mothers and their babies. Since 2004, our team has evaluated more than 3,759 high-risk pregnancies at the center. This experience enables us to provide the most sophisticated, effective therapies available. As we explore the unique challenges and opportunities facing each patient and unborn baby, we often are able to provide unexpected treatment options that offer real hope. We provide mothers and their babies with comprehensive care from prenatal diagnosis and fetal treatment to delivery, postnatal care and long-term follow-up. [ http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/service/f/fetal-care/default/ ]     Located in Cincinnati, the Fetal Care Center treats babies in utero diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses or congenital defects. Doctors from Cincinnati Children’s, Univ Hospital, & Good Samaritan Hospital formed the center which opened in 2/05, the first in the world to have a care unit for prenatal surgery for heart, lungs, neural tube defects, cancer, etc. In 2005, 37 fetal surgeries were performed. [Cincinnati Rt to Life,...

Baby Angeline Marie

“Miraculous” Fetal Surgery Shows Babies With Spina Bifida Shouldn’t be Aborted Three-year-old Angeline Marie is spending some time in “the thinking chair” this week at preschool and her mother couldn’t be prouder. “She getting a time-out now at school—which is something we never thought we’d have to worry about,” says her mother Emily Gonzalez-Abreu.   Angeline Marie was diagnosed with spina bifida when Gonzalez-Abreu was 16 weeks pregnant. When the perinatologist gave Abreu and her husband the news, “He said, ‘you do not want to have this child…she’s going to be like a vegetable.’ With spina bifida, which the Spina Bifida Association of America estimates affects about one in 1,000 babies, the spine does not close properly when it should, at about 28 days after conception. The nerves are damaged, then, as the pregnancy continues, the amniotic fluid in the uterus eats away at the spinal cord, adding more nerve damage. In Angeline’s case, the lesion was high in her spine and her chances of even breathing on her own were bad. For the Abreus, who had waited six years for a baby, abortion wasn’t an option. Just before Angeline’s spina bifida was discovered, her father had seen a television program on the fetal surgery being performed on babies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Their physician put the family in touch with the surgeons at Vanderbilt and, at 28 weeks, the surgery to close the spine was performed. The doctor who originally advised aborting Angeline Marie “is just marveled by her.” He gives other parents who face the same discovery the Abreus’ telephone number, Gonzalez-Abreu said....

Spina Bifida Surgery While in Utero

This photo features a 21-week-old human fetus (Baby Samuel), still inside his mother’s uterus (womb). The photo was taken during an operation (Vanderbilt Univ, 1999) to correct spina bifida, a congenital condition. “Fetus” is a Latin word meaning “offspring” or “young one”. For an update on Samuel, click here .   The photo is perhaps the most amazing of the Twentieth Century; it is certainly the most curious. At first glance, the viewer may be disorientated and even uncomfortable at the sight of an exposed womb partially removed from a mother during an operation. Once the initial shock wears off, take a closer look toward the center of the photo and you will witness a miracle of life: the tiny hand of a 21-week-old fetus (Latin for baby) appears through a tiny slit in the womb; the surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bruner, who is about to perform a delicate operation, “instinctively took his hand.” The fetus and Dr. Bruner are “holding hands.” At first glance… The tiny hand belongs to 21-week-old Samuel Armas. He was delivered from the womb on December 2, 1999 (see update). Note: Babies of this age can be legally aborted in most states. The amazing story… The hand, no larger than the tip of your finger, yet perfectly formed, is that of Samuel Armas who is a mere 21-weeks of age. The amazing photo was taken during an operation at Vanderbilt University Hospital to repair an opening in the infant’s spine. Samuel has spina bifida, a defect caused by the failure of the spine to close properly during development so that, in the worst case, part...