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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Disabled mum gives birth to 'million-to-one' baby

13 February 2006

An American woman who is three feet tall and weighs less than three stone has given birth to a healthy baby after being warned that her chances of having children were a million to one. Eloysa Vasquez, 38, who suffers from a genetic condition that stunts bone growth and uses a wheelchair, gave birth to her son Timothy by Caesarean section. He has not inherited his mother's condition. [Irish Examiner, 11 February]

Leading heart and pregnancy specialists have warned that women born with heart disease are 100 times more likely to die during pregnancy than other women. A report on the problems faced by pregnant women with congenital heart problems was published by doctors at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS trust. They said that women with heart conditions may not realise that they are at greater risk during pregnancy than at other times. [The Independent, 13 February] Philip Steer, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust, said that there should be better care and guidance for pregnant women with heart problems: "When pregnant, it's essential they have specialist care, especially antenatally and in labour, and they need good after care too. If they don't get the care they deserve, sadly some women will continue to die needlessly." [BBC News, 13 February]

Disgraced stem cell scientist, Hwang Woo-suk has appealed against a plan by the South Korean government to ban him from further research. Hwang is still being investigated for his fake claims to have cloned human embryos. He has asked for his research licence to be upheld until prosecutors have finished their investigations. [The Guardian, 13 February]

The Family Planning Association has said that women should be better informed about long-acting birth control methods in order to cut unwanted pregnancies. Research by the group showed that 25% of women in Britain aged 16-49 use the contraceptive pill but only 9% use more long term methods such as implants. Anne Weyman, chief executive of FPA claimed that the government will save money on maternity services if GPs promote long term methods. [Sky News, 13 February]

Canadian researchers claim they have found a genetic cause of the rare disorder, molar pregnancy. It is a condition in which problems arise during fertilisation and no baby develops, but a placenta begins to form, creating the impression of pregnancy. The research is to be published in March and may enable new treatments for molar pregnancy to be developed, as well as for stillbirths and repeated spontaneous abortions. [Medical News Today, 12 February]

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