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  • A baby can still make it to the world after the mother has been pronounced brain dead
  • To keep the body functioning requires continuous medical support
  • Essential hormones and nutrients must be supplied to the body of the brain dead mother

New Delhi, July 28, 2017: Twins in the womb of a brain-dead mother making it to the world, sounds no less than a miracle. A case in which the body of the mother was kept alive as a ‘living incubator’ and after 123 days, 2 babies were born in Lisbon, Portugal, confirms its possibility.

Sandra was pronounced brain dead after a heart attack. She was at that time 17 weeks pregnant, and it was presumed that the baby had also died. However, when the doctors in the intensive care unit, detected signs of life, they decided to consult the family on whether to keep Sandra’s body functioning, in an attempt to deliver the baby alive.


“Following the opinion of the ethics committee and clinical management of that hospital, and a concerted decision by the mother’s family and the paternal family of the child, it was agreed to maintain the pregnancy up to 32 weeks in order to ensure the viability of the foetus,” a statement by the hospital, mentioned The Telegraph report.

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Sandra’s body was supplied essential hormones through tubes, which were also used to feed her and keep her breathing. The staff members and doctors at Lisbon’s San Jose Hospital used to sing songs to the unborn babies and touch the belly of the dead mother which happened to have worked wonders.

In a more recent case, in Brazil, a brain dead mother successfully gave birth to twins after the doctor managed to keep her alive for 123 days. The case tops any other reported instances of fetuses surviving in the womb of the brain dead mother.

Frankielen da Silva Zampoli Padilha, 21, died during pregnancy in October last year after suffering a stroke. In February, this year, her twins arrived in this world. Frankielen’s body was also kept alive to save her unborn children.

The procedure of bringing the unborn in the womb of a brain dead mother, to the world, is indeed complicated. Maintaining pressure, oxygenation, continuous nutrition, hormonal balance etc, requires the continuous support of medication. The blood pressure, blood flow needs to be constantly scrutinized as well.

But this, after all, can be considered as a mother’s last gift to her child!

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha


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