Human Interest

Mom who chose to carry terminally ill daughter to term to donate organs has given birth

Keri Young, the mother who decided to carry her baby to term despite a terminal prenatal diagnosis in hopes of donating the baby’s organs and saving the lives of others, has given birth to her baby girl Eva.

Baby Eva Young.

At 19 weeks gestation, Young and her husband Royce, a writer for ESPN, learned that their preborn daughter had anencephaly, a condition in which the skull and brain don’t properly form. Children with the condition usually only live for a few minutes to days after birth. Royce Young snapped a photo of his wife napping and shared with the world the story of this strong woman who was being completely selfless in the most difficult moments of her life.

“I looked at her laying there, her belly big with our daughter kicking away, a daughter that won’t live more than a few days, and it just overwhelmed me of how incredible this woman is,” he wrote. “[…] I thought back to the moment where we found out Eva wasn’t perfect, and how literally 30 seconds after our doctor told us our baby doesn’t have a brain, somehow through full body ugly crying, Keri looked up and asked, ‘If I carry her full term, can we donate her organs?’ […] In literally the worst moment of her life, finding out her baby was going to die, it took her less than a minute to think of someone else and how her selflessness could help.”


On Monday, April 17, 2017, the couple welcomed Eva, their second child, into the world.

“We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva yesterday,” Young wrote with a photo of herself (holding baby Eva), her husband, and their young son, Harrison, on Instagram the following day. “She was so perfect in her own little way. I’ll be sharing more about her incredible story later.”

Royce Young shared his own image of him and his daughter to his Instagram account saying, “We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva Grace yesterday. Eva Grace Young — 4-17-17.”

We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva Grace yesterday. Eva Grace Young — 4-17-17

A post shared by royceyoung (@royceyoung) on

While the donation of organs from children who have died at birth are rare, parents who are choosing to do them are finding peace and comfort in knowing that their children’s short lives had meaning and made a difference in the world. Annie, a little girl with anencephaly like Eva, became the first infant organ donor in the state of Oklahoma.

“We knew she had a purpose – even though she was not made for this world,” said Annie’s mother Abbey Ahern.

Eva’s parents showed true compassion and love with the choices they made for both their daughter and those she had the potential to help.

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