Baby Who Had Surgery to Fix Spina Bifida While Still in the Womb is Born Healthy

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 19, 2019   |   2:43PM   |   Washington, DC

Doctors in Ohio celebrated this week after their first fetal surgery to fix the spine of an unborn baby with spina bifida proved to be a success.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the baby girl was born nearly full term on June 3, and she and her mother both are doing well. Doctors at the hospital performed the complex surgery in February, the first of its kind in northern Ohio, the hospital stated.

Though the surgery does not cure spina bifida, it can significantly reduce the effects of the disorder by preventing additional damage to the spinal cord and brain.

“By successfully repairing the defect before birth, we’re allowing this child to have the best possible outcome and significantly improve her quality of life,” said Dr. Darrell Cass, a fetal medicine specialist who led the surgery.

Cass has performed more than 160 surgeries on unborn babies since 2002, and his team spent a year preparing to begin doing surgeries on unborn babies with spina bifida, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Several hospitals in other parts of the country have been providing the life-changing surgery for years.

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The hospital explained how the surgery works:

During the fetal repair surgery, a caesarean section-like incision is made and the mother’s uterus is exposed. An ultrasound is then used to locate the placenta and fetus. The uterus is opened 4.5 cm and the back of the fetus is exposed, showing the spina bifida lesion. The surgeons then carefully suture several individual layers of tissue (myofascia, dura and skin) in order to cover the defect. After the uterus is closed back up, the fetus remains in the womb for the remainder of the pregnancy and is ultimately born by caesarean section.

Cass said their tests on the baby girl after birth came back with good results.

“Moving forward, the baby will require ongoing supportive care provided by a multidisciplinary team of caregivers in our Spina Bifida Clinic, which will involve neurology, urology, orthopedics, developmental pediatrics and neurosurgery, among other specialists,” he said.

About 1,600 babies are born with spina bifida every year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is not clear how many more are aborted, but unborn babies with special needs frequently are targeted for abortions. LifeNews has reported on numerous stories of parents being pressured to abort their unborn babies after a disability diagnosis.

The new surgical procedure is providing hope for unborn babies and their families across the globe. In April, doctors in Egypt announced that the first fetal surgery for spina bifida in their country was a success.

Last year, the New York Times highlighted a similar new surgery for unborn babies with spina bifida. Rather than remove the uterus to operate, doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital made small incisions into a mother’s uterus and used a camera and surgical tools to repair a gap in her unborn baby boy’s spine. The baby boy was born in 2018 with a “feisty spirit,” kicking and screaming, according to the report.

In 2014, LifeNews reported British doctors performed the first in utero surgery on an unborn baby girl with spina bifida. The surgery was a success, and by December 2016, 14-month-old Frankie was overcoming her disability and learning to walk, The Express reported at the time.

On Wednesday, Princeton University Professor Robert P. George contrasted the amazing new surgery with abortion activists’ demands that the killing of unborn babies be called “health care.”

“What the Cleveland Clinic has done in surgically repairing a spina bifida defect on a child in the womb is healthcare. To have deliberately killed the child (say, because she had spina bifida and was therefore ‘unwanted’) would NOT have been healthcare,” George wrote on Twitter.

As awareness about the surgery grows and availability expands, there is hope that more mothers will choose life for their unborn babies, and more babies will be spared from the deadly “health care” of abortion.