When their baby was 20 weeks along, doctors diagnosed Gina Beddoe and Dan Lavis’s unborn baby daughter with spina bifida. Sadly a high percentage of babies diagnosed with the medical condition while in the womb become victims of abortion — but not little Frankie Lavis.
The couple said the thought of aborting her never crossed their minds and Beddoe read online about a new pioneering operation to repair baby Frankie’s spine in the womb. The government-run health care pogram agreed to fund the surgery and the couple travelled to Belgium to one of four hospitals in the world offering the operation.
It took two hours and 22 surgical staff to close the gap in Frankie’s spine and she was born in August at 35 weeks — and to her parents’ delight she was moving and kicking her tiny legs in the air. It is too early to tell if Frankie is free of any signs of the condition but the fact she can move her legs means her nervous system is working.
‘We didn’t even have to ask each other whether we would continue with the pregnancy,’Mr Lavis said.
‘We have very good support from friends and family and we felt we could cope with another child if she or he had extra needs,’ added Ms Beddoe.
It was shortly after diagnosis that Ms Beddoe read online about a new operation to repair spina bifida while the baby is in the womb. She discovered that Dr Welch, a former president of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society, had close links with Professor Jan Deprest at Leuven Teaching Hospital in Belgium.