Guest Column

Preemie born at 23 weeks doing well after parents refused to turn off life support

late abortions, premature

(Right to Life UK) Born a week before the abortion limit and weighing only a pound, baby Chay is now nine months old and over ten times heavier than when he was born.

Baby Chay was born in Hillingdon Hospital in London in June 2021 to mum Megan Mcgee, 19, and dad, Bradley Jefferys, 22. Because of his premature birth, baby Chay was very unwell and had to spend 280 days in hospital. During that time, his parents twice defied doctors’ advice to turn off their son’s life support.

Mum Megan said that her pregnancy was going smoothly so it came as a real shock that he was born prematurely.

“I had a normal pregnancy apart from a tooth infection, I never expected to give birth prematurely”.

“I was in such agony and being given all sorts of antibiotics – I can’t think of another reason that he would have been born so early. The doctors agree with me that it was probably the antibiotics that triggered my early labour”.

Megan was relaxing at her mum’s house when she suddenly started to go into labour at just 23 weeks, and she was rushed to hospital where she gave birth within hours.

Chay was born still inside his amniotic sack and had to be resuscitated by medics.

READ: ‘Not hopeless’: Global map shows hospitals confirmed to have saved 22-week preemies

Megan said: “When he was born, he didn’t cry as he wasn’t breathing”.

“It was horrible not knowing what was going on but a really lovely nurse took a little video of them working on him, so I had an idea of what was happening”.

“I got a quick glimpse of him after he started breathing but he was rushed off so quickly”.

When Chay was just three days old, doctors confirmed he had suffered grade four brain bleeds on both sides of his brain along with damage to the white matter and cerebellum.

At three weeks, his kidneys began to fail, and doctors advised the family to turn his life-support machines off.

“I said no right away, he had fought so hard I wasn’t going to give up on him”, Megan says.

“They kept suggesting it, but he just kept getting bigger and better and so eventually they stopped asking”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Abortion is legal up until 24 weeks in England and Wales and up to birth if the baby is disabled. But baby Chay and many others are born and survive before 24 weeks. Wonderful stories like this highlight not only that doctors make mistakes, but also that the abortion limit is now past the point of viability”.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Right to Life UK and is reprinted here with permission. 

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