In December 2021, during a sonogram at 24 weeks, a couple in Mumbai, India, learned their preborn baby boy named Shivansh Singh had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and his abdominal organs had entered his chest cavity through a hole in his diaphragm. Doctors recommended abortion, but his parents refused.
According to the Hindustan Times, doctors determined that Singh had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, also known as CDH, a rare condition in which the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, fails to close during prenatal development. This opening allows organs in the abdomen to migrate into the chest, impacting the growth of the lungs.
“Considering the fetal complications and need for advanced obstetric and neonatal care, we were advised abortion or immediate transfer to a tertiary care medical facility. From that very moment, we were certain that abortion wasn’t an option,” said the child’s father, Krishna Singh.
Following the baby’s birth via C-section at 38 weeks gestation, a team of pediatric surgeons, neonatologists, gynecologists, and anesthetists immediately went to work. Singh was put on gentle ventilation due to his underdeveloped lungs and within 24 hours was in corrective surgery. The team of doctors was tasked with realigning the fragile internal organs while restructuring the diaphragm as a permanent clinical solution.
The baby boy is now recovering and doing well. Last week, the 44-day-old baby was declared free of health complications and doctors said he can lead a normal life. Throughout the entire ordeal, his parents stayed positive.
“We never lost hope, even when we were informed about the condition of our child the first time,” said Singh.
Singh is not the only baby with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia who has defied the odds and gone on to live a healthy, thriving life. Last year, a baby was born with CDH in South Africa. After baby Ignus underwent surgery and treatment, he recovered and appeared to be thriving. Doctors said the case was a reminder that they can “achieve good outcomes even for highly compromised babies.”
According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, it is estimated that 15.6 million abortions take place in India every year, where it is legal through 24 weeks of pregnancy and up to birth with special permission for a fetal anomaly. According to the Independent, a 36-year-old woman in India was recently allowed to undergo a full-term abortion simply because her baby had a prenatal diagnosis of spina bifida, a condition that can be aided with surgery either before or after birth. In January 2021, a couple from Chandigarh was granted permission to abort their 25-week-old baby due to a congenital defect.
Singh’s successful surgery is a reminder that a disability is not a death sentence. Parents need access to resources and support so that they feel confident and free to choose life for their babies.
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