Baby Surgeons: Delivering Miracles viewers were left feeling heartbroken on Monday night as one woman had to make the difficult choice to abort one of her twins in hopes to save her other baby.
The Channel 4 programme focuses on patients in the Fetal Medicine Unit at St George’s Hospital in London, filming their experiences in intimate and often emotional scenes.
This evening’s episode followed expectant mother Jennifer.
When we first see Jennifer she is 16 weeks pregnant with monoamniotic-monochorionic twins – a very rare type of pregnancy where the twins share the same amniotic sac and placenta.
One of the twin’s brains and spinal column hasn’t formed properly, which is a form of spina bifida.
‘They explained to us the baby would be at high risk of mental and physical handicap. The twin with the problems wouldn’t have a good quality of life and it puts the healthy twin at risk,’ she said.
Professor Basky explained: ‘This is a baby that’s not going to do well, if it survives. They are not going to develop properly.’
He then went on to tell Jennifer and her partner that they could continue on with both pregnancies or terminate the child with ill health in hopes to protect the healthy baby.
Professor Basky explained: ‘This baby has a major psychical defect which will result in significant neuro developmental harm and even death.
‘The added complexity is this baby may actually cause harm to its healthy co-twin. A selective abortion of the baby with the severe problem would improve the chances for the healthy baby to survive.’
Throughout the episode, it is clear that it isn’t an easy decision for Jenn and her husband to make but they know that they want to do everything in their power to help the over twin to survive.
Jenn explained their eventual decision to abort one of the twins: ‘We’ve got two babies to think about. One would more than likely need 24 hour care and how can we provide that care and also give the twin that’s ok a good quality of life.’
Professor Basky was supportive of their choice, as he recognised that there isn’t a right or wrong decision and that it’s about doing what’s best for the family.
‘She’s chosen to improve the chances of the healthy baby. It’s really important that we’re not judgemental about women’s decisions to either end or continue with their pregnancy,’ he said.
‘Whoever you are, however strong you are, this is an incredibly difficult decision to make.’
The operation was a success and the surviving baby had a steady heartbeat.
Unfortunately, Jennifer ended up miscarrying the second twin, which isn’t uncommon in these circumstances.
Jennifer named her daughters Nova and Aurora.
‘I feel grateful for the time I got to carry the girls but sometimes, some days, I wish I was never pregnant because then we never would have had to make the decisions that we made,’ she explained.
‘My heart aches. I would love to have a baby, a child.’
Viewers were left distraught by Jenn’s story.
‘Nooo that’s so cruel! I’m so sorry Jenn and partner for your loss,’ one person tweeted.
Another penned: ‘What an incredible woman on #BabySurgeons , Jennifer is so brave to share her story, I have no doubt her sharing this will help others.’
‘Crying my eyes out,’ said another.
All episodes of Baby Surgeons: Delivering Miracles can be watched on E4.
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