British Doctors Fail to Save Unborn Baby By Abortion on Twin Child in Rare Case

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Doctors Fail to Save Unborn Baby By Abortion on Twin Child in Rare Case Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 10, 2006

Birmingham, England ( — British doctors failed in a rare surgery to save the life of one unborn twin baby by using an abortion to kill the other baby, who was experiencing severe problems with his physical development.

Sarah Garratt, a 26 year-old woman, suffered from an extremely rare syndrome known as Twin Reverse Arterial Perfusion, or TRAP, which affects one in 30,000 pregnancies involving twins.

The condition has one of the unborn babies developing normally and the other not developing at all physically. The weaker baby was growing and able to move but was missing key organs and forcing the more developed unborn child to pump blood to the twin with her heart.

Doctors suggested saving the life of the more developed baby by taking the life of the lesser developed one. Garratt agreed and had the abortion at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

According to the Birmingham Post newspaper, doctors blocked the blood supply between the two babies but the surgery failed and the weaker baby has grown and become bigger than the healthy baby.

Garratt told the Post that the situation is adversely affecting her healthy baby, whom she found out is a girl.

"Although the abnormal twin is not alive in any sense, it has latched back on to the healthy baby," she said. "The amniotic fluid has got under its skin and made it bigger."

Garratt said she could try to have the abortion again but doctors tell her there is a greater risk now that it would end in a miscarriage.

"I can have surgery again but it would be more intrusive than the last procedure and would mean cutting the blood vessels linking the two with miniature scissors," she said.

"The doctors have decided that a wait-and-see approach is better. It all depends what happens in the next two weeks," she told the Post.

Garratt said she was surprised to find out how little anyone knew about the rare condition.

A Birmingham Women’s Hospital spokeswoman said the abortion procedure was extremely difficult and doctors were unable to predict the outcome.