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Mothers are donating milk to premature baby allergic to formula, whose mother died seconds after his birth

On April 8th Minal Vernekar gave birth to baby Ivaan via an emergency Caesarean, at 32 weeks pregnant. Seconds after giving birth, Minal, who had tested positive for COVID-19, died of a cardiac arrest.

Minal, who worked as a HR consultant, was staying with her parents in Nagpur, Central India when she contracted COVID-19 during her pregnancy and had to be hospitalised.

She had chosen the name Ivaan for her baby prior to her death.

Ivaan’s father Chetan told journalists, “My family and I are filled with immense gratitude for new mothers who contacted us in Nagpur after they learned of the death of my wife in the 32nd week of her pregnancy on April 8. Since our baby is allergic to formula milk, the ladies regularly supplied us with their own breast milk. It is only because of this humane act that our child survived and has now been discharged from hospital”.

After Ivaan and his father returned to their home in Thane on India’s west coast, the family had to resume their search for breast milk donations. 

Chetan’s sister, Shanoo Prasad, said, “A Facebook group called Breastfeeding Support for Indian Women, founded by Adhunika Prakash came forward to help us. Lactation consultant Camilla Conti selflessly guided me on how to use the received mother’s milk for the baby. Someone had also posted about our situation on Twitter, following which we received several calls from people who wanted to help the premature baby. We are overwhelmed by this milk of compassion”.

She added, “In Nagpur, a kind man, Sunit Narayane, picked up the milk from donor mothers and transported it daily for the baby for more than a month. Advocate Bhumika and mothers Aashi Gupta, Aswari Ratnaparki and Niddhi Hiranandani Parmar there helped us immensely without bothering about their own safety during these touch [sic] Covid times. We can never forget this”.

Shanoo added that Minal had loved children: “It is ironic that she could not see her own baby as coronavirus destroyed her, as it has across the globe. We have also seen kindness and compassion emerge from this situation”.

Chetan and his family are still arranging to receive milk donations from mothers in Thane and nearby Mumbai. 

“There is one lady in Borivali, another, Neha from Mahim, and Shagun, mother of a one-month-old from Jogeshwari, who have been sending us milk. Experts say when a mother pumps out more milk, an equal amount is soon produced in her, which is a marvel of the human body. We thank everyone who has supported us in recent days”, Shanoo said.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: “It is tragic that Minal never got to meet her son, and we wish her family the best of luck in this tragic situation. While medicine is constantly innovating, inevitably doctors and nurses cannot save everyone. Despite this tragedy, it is heartwarming to see that so many mothers have offered to help baby Ivaan via their milk donations”.

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.