Spina Bifida Surgery within the womb

(Lucas Weeks) #1

What a kindness of God to this family! “I couldn’t justify terminating a child I could feel kicking,” said the mother of the newborn.

May God bless little Elouise and her family.

(Nathan Smith) #2


From the article:

It is estimated that about 80% of mothers choose termination when spina bifida is diagnosed, although the condition varies in severity.

I’m thankful for this surgery and God’s kindness towards them/us, his creatures.

Still saddened by the big picture. The assumption is that the surgery changes everything: that termination would be preferable if there were no surgery like this; that if the surgery had not been so successful then the decision to keep the baby would be wrong; that the jury is still out as to whether they made the right decision - will she be able to learn to walk like a normal child?

I’m so happy things like this can be done in medicine, but also grieved that “termination” is so commonly recommended.


I have a daughter who has spina bifida.

She’s nine, and at the time the statistic for abortions after spina bifida being diagnosed was 69%. I haven’t looked it up in a while, so 80% makes my knees wobbly with sickness.

When we found out she had SB, maybe five months into the pregnancy, they made us an appointment with a Genetic Councilor. A kind enough looking elderly lady with a floral blouse. The first thing she asked us, point blank. “Do you want to terminate the pregnancy?” After a firm “No”, the second question she asked was “Are you sure you don’t want to terminate the pregnancy?”

I mostly just read this place in the background, but after I saw that statistic–80%!!-- I had to sign up comment. How can I not come to the conclusion that, given the opportunity, 80% would kill my child?

The quick and fast of what happens with spina bifida is that (in most severe cases, like my daughter) the spine did not close all the way at some point, which exposes the spinal cord to the high possibility of being damaged, which leads to paralysis, loss of bladder/bowel control, hydrocephalus, etc. I describe it to people that having spina bifida is similar to being in a bad car accident, or any accident involving damage to the spinal cord. Symptoms vary depending on where and how much damage occurs. My daughter doesn’t walk ‘normal’ but she can walk. She has a buddy whose exposure was in the same location and he can’t walk. It’s almost as if no two cases are the same.

Everyone born with this type of spina bifida undergoes surgery immediately after birth. The in-womb operation simply does the same thing in the womb, the idea being that the sooner the cord is no longer exposed, the less chance of damage. Problem (or beauty) is, no one knows the severity of the damage until after the baby is born, and even then, a few weeks, and even then a few years, before you get some feel of the full extent. And growth beyond that may reveal new things, but also new strengths. So the idea that people are aborting their children based on the ‘severity’ of the spina bifida is sadly laughable.

God’s truth, His image, the value of humanity, all that aside (not flippantly aside, but aside for those who don’t believe it), after being immersed in what it takes, what it means, what it is to live with/care for/love someone with spina bifida for a decade, I cannot, for one second, imagine how this ‘condition of life’ is a justifiable reason to abort a child with spina bifida.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

I wrote this up a few years ago, some thoughts on how hard things are and how hope sustains:

Spina Bifida and the Foretaste of Eternal Glory

(Joseph Bayly) #4

Welcome. And thank you for commenting. Very encouraging.

(Daniel Meyer) #5

Dear Mr. Tuttle, thanks for posting, and may God bless you and your family, dear brother. He is good.


(Nathan Smith) #6

Thanks for posting.

I took care of a girl with spina bifida in the hospital is residency. Hey grandmother was the primary caregiver (parent basically) and seemed to be a believer. I remarked at the time of discharge that the little girl was blessed to have her grandmother in her life. The grandmother didn’t miss a beat with her response: “I’m blessed to have her in my life.” It cut me to the quick. It was true, is true.