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Mother gives birth to identical triplets after refusing to abort one of them

A mother has given birth to identical triplets after rejecting advice from doctors to “abort Triplet B to give the others a better chance of surviving.

Summer Shillingford and her partner, Davidson Shillingford, believed they had been blessed with a miracle when they discovered they were expecting triplets.

But, 19 weeks into Summer’s pregnancy, doctors diagnosed her with Twin-To-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).

The condition affects 10-15% of pregnancies where identical siblings share a placenta.

Abnormal blood vessel connections form in the placenta and allow blood to flow unevenly between the babies.

Recalling events, Summer told the Mirror: “The doctors suggested we abort Triplet B to give the others a better chance of surviving.

“But I said there’s no chance I’m going to do that. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I’d let him die.”

Echoing his wife’s sentiments, Davidson went on to say: “I focused on just ­positive thinking really. As for reducing because of the TTTS, that was never an option for either of us.

“These boys were meant to be here and it was our ­responsibility as their mum and dad to give them all a fair chance.

“We were very clear with the ­doctors we wouldn’t reduce from the start of the pregnancy and that didn’t change when TTTS was diagnosed.”

Because of the TTTS, Summer was sent for specialist laser surgery to break down the blood vessels in her placenta.

A check-up one week later revealed the triplets were doing well.

But, at 32 weeks, one day before she was due to have a caesarean section Summer started bleeding heavily and was rushed to University College Hospital in London.

Within three hours, Summer and Davidson had welcomed their three baby boys into the world.

Otis, Rocco and Prince were born weighing between 2lb 6oz and 4lb 1oz (1.1kg – 1.8kg).

Due to their size the brothers are currently being monitored in a neonatal intensive care unit, but are otherwise thriving.

Describing the birth, Summer said: “When the first baby, Otis, came into the world, he seemed to know his arrival was long awaited. He had his arms up and it was as though he was saying, ‘I’ve arrived, we’ve made it.’

Davidson went on to say: “It was a very happy moment which was mixed with relief to see my babies all come out crying.”

Sadly, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the boys haven’t yet met their six-year-old sister, Violet, or any of their extended family yet.

Summer said: “Violet has given them her favourite cuddly sheep and drawn them pictures saying she loves them”.

“I spend every day at the hospital and it’s relentless. They go through at least ten to 12 nappies each a day.

“We may eventually need to move to a bigger house or get a bigger car too. But for now we’re just delighted that our family is complete.”

Davidson added: “I hope my sons will grow up and become respectable young men who are kind to the planet and all the people on it… and maybe all play for Leeds United one day too – dads can dream.

“We hope to just enjoy lots of family time together in the future and are looking forward to introducing the boys to their big sister and all their relatives soon.”

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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