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Survival rate doubles for premature babies in U.K.

Doctors had previously been recommended to only attempt to save premature babies after 23 weeks; however, new data shows that babies born earlier can be saved, and the overall rate for premature survival has doubled as medical technology improves.
Dylan Gibbons Montreal, QC

Doctors had previously been recommended to only attempt to save premature babies after 23 weeks; however, new data shows that babies born earlier can be saved, and the overall rate for premature survival has doubled as medical technology improves.

According to the British Association of Perinatal Medicine, while it’s still likely that those born before 22 weeks will pass away, experts believe that at least one-third of children born at 23 weeks may now be savable, and, thus, doctors should at least attempt to administer life-saving treatment.

The data shows that those born at 22 weeks only have a 10 percent survival rate. However, those born at 23 weeks were shown to have a survival rate of 38 percent in 2016, which is double the rate found in 2006. Furthermore, each additional week only adds to the likeliness that a child will be successfully delivered.

This latest news in health science has already prompted pro-life advocates to push for a reduction in the latest date that a child can be aborted.

“There is a real contradiction in British law, “ Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said.

“In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive before 24 weeks whilst in another room, a doctor could perform an abortion which would end the life of a baby at the same age. Surely this contradiction needs to end?”

Conversely, a spokesperson for British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a pro-choice charity, said, “There is no contradiction between doing all we can so that babies born long before they are ready for the world have a chance of living, and ensuring that the very small number of women who need to end pregnancies in the final weeks of the second trimester, often in incredibly tragic and desperate circumstances can do so.”

“We must not pit women who have premature babies and women who have later abortions against one another.”

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Dylan Gibbons
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