An experimental new medical treatment for spina bifida is showing huge promise for unborn babies diagnosed with the debilitating condition.
According to the BBC, three babies with spina bifida recently were born after undergoing a new stem cell treatment developed by scientists at the University of California Davis Health Center.
Before they were born, doctors performed surgery on the unborn babies and their pregnant mothers to place a patch or implant with stem cells over holes on the babies’ spines caused by the disease, according to the report.
One of the babies, Robbie, is now 1 year old.
“We didn’t know about spina bifida until the diagnosis,” her mother, Emily, told the BBC. “We are so thankful that we got to be a part of this. We are giving our daughter the very best chance at a bright future.”
Robbie is one of potentially 35 babies whom doctors would like to participate in the medical trial. UC Davis Health doctors said the children in the program will be monitored for up to six years, including through regular check-ups.
Although the surgery does not cure spina bifida, doctors believe it can significantly reduce the effects of the disorder by preventing additional damage to the spinal cord and brain. Spina bifida often affects a child’s mobility, including their ability to walk and use the bathroom, and can cause fluid buildup on the brain.
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Doctors have been performing fetal surgery on unborn babies with spina bifida for decades. The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio alone has done at least 160 surgeries since 2002.
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.
As awareness about the treatment grows and availability expands, many hope more mothers will choose life for their unborn babies, and more babies will be spared from the deadly “health care” of abortion.