When Peyton Keir was born 16 weeks early last July, doctors warned her parents that she may not survive.
But little Peyton, born weighing less than 2 pounds, now is thriving at home with her parents, Becky and Steven Keir, in England, according to the Daily Mail.
Doctors told the Keirs that only 60 percent of babies born at 24 weeks survive past the first month, the report states. Generally, 24 weeks is considered the point of viability for babies, though new research suggests viability now is about 22-23 weeks.
Viability is significant because some governments use it to determine when abortions should be legal. The UK and some U.S. states prohibit abortions after 24 weeks because of viability. Many individuals are calling for these laws to be updated to reflect how modern technology is helping more babies like Peyton to survive at 24 weeks or earlier.
Becky Keir said her pregnancy with Peyton seemed to be going well until she began bleeding at 24 weeks. The Keirs said they rushed to the hospital where they discovered that Becky was about to give birth. Doctors delivered Peyton and immediately took her to the neonatal intensive care unit.
Becky told the Mail:
“I just couldn’t believe how small she was – but she was beautiful.
“She was so delicate and tiny but then my little girl was placed into a sandwich bag to protect her skin.
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“She only weighed 811 grams and she gave out such a cute yawn when she was born – but then the nurses and doctors rushed her off to save her.
“I was heartbroken, angry at myself and guilty for not being able to keep my baby safe for a few more weeks.”
Peyton fought for her life in the hospital, and eventually grew strong enough to go home.
Today, she is 9 months old and doing well. Doctors said Peyton may have a learning disability or cerebral palsy, but they have not detected problems so far.
“… I’ve been told that development-wise she is within the top fifty percent of babies for her age,” her mother said. “… so we are both over the moon on how well she is doing.”
Other British babies have been born before the viability mark and survived. Kalel Fitz was born after just 23 weeks in his mother’s womb, and doctors gave him a small chance of survival, according to The Daily Mail. His feet were so tiny that they measured just 1 inch long, and his weight was 1 pound, 8 ounces. He now is a toddler.
A study published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a growing number of premature infants are surviving as early as 22 weeks. Yet, these babies could have been legally aborted for any reason in many parts of the U.S. and the UK. The study also found that some hospitals are not giving babies treatment at this early age, despite modern medical advancements that have pushed back the viability line from 24 weeks to about 22-23.