Husband Raises Enough to Keep “Brain Dead” Pregnant Wife Alive, Allow Son’s Birth

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 4, 2014   |   4:43PM   |   Washington, DC

Dylan Benson has been the subject of international attention as he raises money to cover his “brain dead” pregnant wife’s medical bills so his unborn son can be born. Today, Benson hit his fundraising goal so he can cover the enormous expense associated with saving his son’s life.

Just one week after a national controversy in Texas regarding a husband to allowed his pregnant wife to be taken off life support, thus killing his unborn child, comes a similar case out of Canada. But, this time, the husband involved is allowing his unborn child to live.

iverbenson4Robyn Benson was 22 weeks pregnant when she suffered from a brain hemorrhage. Her husband, Dylan, went out to get some medicine for her headache and, when he returned, Robyn was unconscious on their bathroom floor, but still breathing. Although medical professionals made attempts to revive her, doctors discovered blood had leaked in to Robyn’s brain and they told Dylan Robyn would never recover.

However, doctors have kept Robyn alive for the past few weeks so Dylan’s son, Iver Cohen Benson, can be born. Iver will be 34 weeks when doctors perform a C-section to give birth. As of Feb 4, 2014, the Baby Iver Fund has raised $81,478 out of a $36,000 goal.

On his website Dylan explains what happened, “On December 28th, I lost my wife to a sudden hemmorhage of blood to her brain. At the time, she was 22 weeks pregnant.

On that Saturday morning, she threw up, and then instantly started suffering from a piercing headache and asked me to go to the store to get some Tylenol for her. When I came back, she was unconscious, but still breathing in our bathroom. I called 911 immediately. The ambulance came, and they tried to get my wife to respond and for almost an hour before we went to the hospital. At the hospital they discovered that my wife had experienced a massive blood leak into the centre of her brain, and that there was so much blood and pressure and damage that it was irrepairable.

iverbensonDevastatingly, my wife, Robyn, became brain dead. They performed an operation on my wife’s brain to drain some of the excess blood. Based on my decision, they are attempting to keep her body alive for up to 7 more weeks (potentially until she is at or near 34 weeks pregnant). Incredibly, they have been successful in doing this for 5 weeks now. The thought process behind this is that if they can keep her body alive and growing our child, it will give our unborn son (his name will be Iver Cohen Benson) a good chance of surviving a c-section at that time. The doctors have said that he now has higher than an 80% of survival and that increases with every day that passes. There are roughly 30 published medical records of this type of thing being attempted, but so far, amazingly, they have been successful. For the last 5 weeks, Robyn’s body has still been doing most of the work. Her heart rate and blood pressure are for the most part working unassisted. It is essentially only her brain that is not working, and unfortunately, she will not recover from the brain death.

Our family and close friends are all very supportive and all think that my wife would want me to try and give our child the best life possible, so that’s what I’m going to try and do. Assuming that the c-section is successful, of course my son will then spend the next several weeks in the hospital under intensive care until he is ready to be released to me.

My days right now consist of a lot of time with family and close friends, and of course time at the hospital visiting Iver and Robyn, and hoping every minute for their health to continue.

She was my rock. She did so much for us, and I can’t believe I won’t get to talk to her again. It is very difficult to know that our son will grow up never meeting his wonderful mother, and that we will have to say our goodbyes to Robyn within hours of seeing Iver for the first time.



Why we are raising funds and where they will go:

Due to the stress of this situation, and not knowing when they will attempt to deliver Iver (if Robyn’s body becomes unstable, they may need to deliver him within minutes or days), I am unable to work. The majority of my current and upcoming leave from work will leave me only earning 55% of my salary. I am about to become a single father. Paternity leave for men will only provide me with 35 weeks off from work, and it’s likely that I will be spending the first 6-8 of those in the hospital with Iver before I can take him home. I will need funds towards bills, baby supplies, daycare, housing, food, and transportation.

I sincerely appreciate everyone who took the time to read this and anyone who is able to help, regardless of the amount.

Thanks and take care,

Dylan and Iver”


Wesley Smith, a pro-life bioethics attorney has commented on the situation.

Is this another case in which some would denigrate maintaining the mother’s viability as somehow undignified–as happened in the Marlise Munoz tragedy? Or, is gestation in this case acceptable because of the continuing development of this unborn child?

Or, is it the fact that the child is wanted by his father that makes the moral difference? Or instead–even if he were unwanted–because the child is likely to develop until he can be safely delivered?

If we value the unborn child because he or she is a developing human being, it will be the latter opinion.

If we think a fetus’s value is dependent on the feelings of those with the power to decide whether to continue the pregnancy–then the former.

I think an unborn child should be viewed as having value in his or her own right, wanted or not. He or she is a nascent human being. Whatever others may think doesn’t change that intrinsic nature.