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‘Little fighter’ Zaylan, born 16 weeks early, heads home from hospital

After a 181-day stay in hospital, baby Zaylan Reed is finally going to join his parents at home. The little boy weighed just 1lb 6oz and mum, Krysten Ribson, has said that her “little fighter” is inspiring her to train as a neonatal nurse. 

In labour at 23 weeks and 6 days

Krysten recalls going into labour when she was just 23 weeks and 6 days pregnant. When the doctors realised she was going to give birth to Zaylan four months prematurely, they warned her that he might not make it. 

Ms Ribson had to be taken by helicopter to a specialist hospital. She said “It was scary. I just kept thinking please just get us there”. 

On arrival at the hospital, doctors managed to delay labour by two days. 

“Little fighter” makes it home

Zaylan was born at 24 weeks and 1 day, weighing only 1lb 6oz – just over 600g. He was born with a hole in his heart and retinopathy of prematurity, an eye condition that can affect premature babies. Despite needing surgery, a feeding tube, and regular supplies of oxygen, Zaylan has now made it home and is a healthy little boy. 

“It was unreal having him home”, his mum said. “He’s pretty funny. He’s a grump – he gives me the side eye. He smiles and laughs all the time”. 

Mum inspired to become neonatal nurse

After her experience with Zaylan, Ms Ribson, 22, is now studying to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse. NICU nurses work in a specialist setting to provide care for newborn babies who are born premature or sick. 

Improving outcomes for premature babies

A study, ‘Mortality, In-Hospital Morbidity, Care Practices, and 2-Year Outcomes for Extremely Preterm Infants in the US, 2013-2018’, by Dr Edward F Bell of the University of Iowa, found that from 2013 to 2018, with infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation, “survival to discharge occurred in 78.3% and was significantly improved compared with a historical rate of 76.0% among infants born in 2008-2012”.

The study, which took place between 2013 and 2018, assessed 10,877 infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation in 19 academic medical centres across the US.

This means that almost four out of five extremely prematurely born babies survived and were able to be assessed at 22-26 months corrected age (22-26 months from their due date) for a number of health and functional outcomes.

Born a day after the UK abortion time limit

Born at 24 weeks and 1 day gestation, Zaylan arrived just one day after the legal limit for abortions in the UK (this limit does not apply if the unborn baby has a disability). 

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “Zaylan’s inspirational story is a testament to the improving outcomes for premature babies and a constant challenge to the current abortion time limit of 24 weeks in the UK”. 

“This time limit needs to be urgently reviewed and unborn babies rightly protected”. 

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.