A British woman who knew her baby girl would die shortly after birth carried the child to term — so she could donate the infant’s organs and save other lives.
Emma Lee, 32, and husband Drew, 51, were told 13 weeks into their pregnancy with twins that one of the two babies suffered from anencephaly, a deadly condition that prevents a brain and skull from developing.
Doctors offered an abortion, but Emma and Drew decided to go through with the pregnancy.
Baby Hope lived 74 minutes before dying last week in her mom’s arms at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
She donated her kidneys and liver cells.
“It’s quite a heartbreaking decision to make,” Emma Lee told the Cambridge News. “If it was in different circumstances and she had just passed away after birth, I think the decision would not have been that easy.”
The couple said they were inspired by the story of Cardiff newborn Teddy Houlston, who had the same condition. He was born in April and lived 100 minutes before dying and donating his heart valve and kidneys.
“When we found out Hope wouldn’t survive, knowing Teddy’s story made me confident doctors could do the same thing,” Emma Lee told the Daily Mirror.
“Today she is still living on inside someone else and it helps with the grief, it’s taken some of the pain away. I don’t think anyone spoke during the 74 minutes, we just all gave her cuddles.”
It was an easy decision to name the little girl Hope, her parents said.
“The name has really worked well. We have still got her because she is living on in other people,” Drew Lee said. “She only lived for 74 minutes but she has achieved more than some people do in a lifetime. We feel our little girl is a hero.”