A baby born two weeks before the abortion limit, and given less than a ten percent chance of survival, is going strong after more than five months and is expected to be able to go home by her first birthday.
Charvi Matthews was expected to be born on 24 February 2021. Instead, her mother, Millisa Matthews, was rushed to hospital on 26 October 2020 with severe stomach pains caused by sepsis. Charvi was born later that day after an emergency caesarean section at St Thomas’ hospital.
Weighing only 14oz (420g), her parents were told there was little chance that she would survive. She was so small she could be held in the palm of her mother’s hand and her skin was so thin that you could see every vein.
However, following months of specialist care, during which her parents made sure to visit her every day in hospital, countless operations and more than 35 blood transfusions, Charvi has defied all expectations and is now able to breathe unassisted and drink from a bottle, and even give her mum a smile.
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Her mother Millisa said: “We were told she had about a 10% chance of survival – but I was adamant we’d give her that chance”.
“She’s really had to fight for her life and there were times where we were very worried – but now she’s getting stronger every day and has exceeded doctors expectations”.
“There was no way I was going to give up on her, no matter how much the odds were stacked against her”.
“I want people to never give up on 22-weekers – Charvi has shown how much is possible if you give them a chance”.
“At one point doctors told me I was ‘prolonging the inevitable’”.
“But as bad as things got, we knew we’d never give up on her”.
Baby Charvi now weighs 6.5lbs, more than seven times her birth weight and is able to breathe on her own for up to three hours a day.
Her mother went on to say: “I always knew she’d make it, even when doctors told me I was just ‘prolonging the inevitable’ – and I want to share that message of hope to other families”.
“I think people aren’t hopeful for 22-weekers, and many of them sadly do pass away, but you should always give them the chance”.
“I want other mothers to know that 22-weekers can survive, so don’t give up hope”.
“Miracles can and do happen – Charvi has proven that”.
Born before the abortion limit
It is becoming more and more common for babies born before the abortion limit in Britain to survive. In October last year, another severely premature baby was born in Scotland almost 2 weeks below the abortion limit. Sofia Viktoria Birina weighed only 500g, but by February this year she was healthy enough to be sent home with her parents.
Baby Charvi and baby Sofia are not alone in being born so prematurely and going on to survive. A study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in October 2019, followed 2.56 million babies born in Sweden between 1973 and 1997, around six percent of whom were born prematurely.
Researchers compared the health data of the premature babies to those that had been born at full term. They found that 55% of premature babies had no serious chronic, physical, or mental health issues by early adulthood. This is compared to 63% for babies born at full term.
Additionally, with each passing decade, the odds of survival for a premature baby to adulthood have improved from about 91% of babies born in the 1970s to about 96% of those born in the 1990s.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Advances in medical technology are improving the life-chances for severely premature babies all the time. Charvi’s mum reports that her daughter is the first surviving ‘22-weeker’ at St Thomas’ hospital. Such severely premature births pose a direct challenge to the abortion law in Britain, which permits abortion up to the 24th week of pregnancy. This limit is partly based on the supposed viability of babies outside of the womb. Of course, this is a flimsy justification for abortion and one that is made all the more flimsy as babies are being born before that limit and going on to survive”.