After breast cancer, two miscarriages, and two abortions, Vicky Fryer finally gave birth to her son Abe on Jan. 19, 2017, the Dailymail reports.
Her miscarriages were a result of the breast cancer, and she chose the abortions because her unborn babies tested positive for cystic fibrosis.
Fryer’s heart-wrenching journey began when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2009. Both of her breasts were removed, and she underwent chemotherapy. Vicky and Chris were warned, however, that the chemotherapy would potentially damage her eggs. They decided to fertilize her eggs outside of the womb and freeze the resulting embryos, according to the report.
The Fryers waited for three years after Vicky’s diagnosis before trying for a baby, to be certain that the cancer would not return.
‘”I didn’t want to be pregnant if I knew I wasn’t going to be here for my child. It was a horrible, depressing thought, but I had to be practical,” Vicky said.
They first tried natural pregnancy, but both of their attempts ended in miscarriage. They then decided to try in vitro fertilization with their frozen embryos. Before the attempt, however, both Vicky and Chris tested positive for cystic fibrosis, guaranteeing that at least one of their embryos would have the disease.
Daily mail describes CF: “The genetic disorder, which is incurable and possibly fatal, causes a build-up of sticky mucus in the lungs and digestive system. Half of the 10,400 people currently living with it in the UK will die by the time they reach their 30s from lung disease.”
The Fryers had four embryos. The first implantation was unsuccessful. The second embryo tested positive for cystic fibrosis, and, at thirteen weeks, that baby was aborted, according to the report.
“It wasn’t that we wanted a perfect baby. If we’d had a child with a disability that wasn’t so severe it would have been different,” Vicky explained. “But we couldn’t bear to think of our child suffering.”
The third embryo also tested positive for the disease and was aborted.
Finally, the last embryo, which ironically was the one that was considered the poorest quality, tested negative for cystic fibrosis. That baby, Abe James Fryer, was born healthy.
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Vicky explained the difficult choices that she and her husband made.
“Of course, if we hadn’t known the babies would have CF, once they were born, we’d have done everything in our power to ensure they lived as well as possible with their condition. But when you’re given the choice, you don’t inflict a horrible illness on your child,” she said.
Parents do not have that choice ethically, however. A child with a disability has the same right to life before birth as he or she does after birth. The Fryers suffered much in their journey, but understanding that the value of life is never lessened by other factors could have given them peace about choosing life for all of their children.