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Premature baby goes from less than 1 pound to 12 pounds in seven months

A baby girl born before 26 weeks who weighed less than a pound is making amazing progress, now weighing 12 pounds.

Ellyannah Lopez was described by her mother Cecia as “nothing short of a miracle”, as her parents had tried for eight years to have a child. However, at 20 weeks gestation, Ellyannah was not receiving nutrients through the umbilical cord, and her mother’s blood pressure was very high. Ellyannah was therefore delivered early, before 26 weeks.

At less than a pound, she was one of the smallest babies that medical staff at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles had ever seen.

In spite of being so tiny, Ellyannah fought for life

When she was born, she was so frail that her parents were unable to hold her for 54 days. Her mother said “She was born so small that no one, none of the doctors in that operating room thought that she would cry. And when she did, I could hear everybody saying, ‘Is that[,] is that her?'”.

Dr Seth Langston, who works at Cedar-Sinai Guerin Children’s, said “Less than probably 1% of all births are delivered before 26 weeks. Most challenging for babies this early and this small to deal with are immature lungs, and therefore relying a lot on breathing support”.

Ellyannah was the first baby at the hospital to use a jet, which is a high-frequency ventilator.

Ellynnah is now seven months old and remains in hospital.

Dr Langston said “She still has a long way to go. You know, she’s still working on her breathing. She also has to figure out how to eat”. But her parents say that they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Premature babies like Ellyannah are demonstrating improving outcomes

A number of key studies in recent years have documented the improving outcomes for these extremely premature babies. A 2004 Swedish study found that neonatal survival outcomes between 22 and 25 weeks gestation significantly improve when neonatal hospital staff take a proactive approach in the care of premature babies.

A 2008 study based on a neonatal intensive care unit in London also found that neonatal survival rates at 22 and 23 weeks gestation had improved. In 1981-85, no babies who were born at these gestational ages survived to discharge. However, by 1986-90, 19% did and this increased to 54% in the period 1996-2000.

A study in 2022 found almost four out of five babies born prematurely between 22 and 28 weeks gestation survive to discharge from the hospital. It 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”.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said “Baby Ellyannah has made brilliant progress over seven months. This story speaks to the resilience of human life and the amazing medical advancements that enable increasingly more premature babies to survive beyond what would have been expected even a few years ago”.

Dear reader,

Thanks to your support, earlier this year the abortion lobby failed to pass two extreme abortion up to birth amendments tabled by Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Diana Johnson.

Unfortunately, this is not the end for our opposition. 

In the new Parliament, we will be facing major threats on not just one but three fronts: assisted suicide; experimentation on human embryos; and abortion up to birth:

  1. The first threat is from the assisted suicide lobby. The new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, has not only voted in favour of making assisted suicide legal in the past but also pledged ahead of the election that he would make time for MPs to vote on the introduction of assisted suicide. Now that he has been elected, we will be facing a big battle to stop assisted suicide from being legalised. To attempt to secure this law change, the assisted suicide lobby, led by the multi-million-pound outfit, Dignity in Dying, is expected to significantly ramp up their campaigning to put pressure on MPs to vote in support of introducing assisted suicide.
  2. The second threat is from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and their allies in biotech firms that undertake experimentation on the most vulnerable, precious and unique tiny babies - human embryos. These groups are running a major campaign to remove the 14-day limit from current legislation, so that scientists will be able to experiment on human embryos / unborn babies up to when they are 28 days or four weeks gestation. At around 22 days, the central nervous system begins to form and by 28 days, the heart has begun to beat, the brain has begun to develop and a baby’s eyes, ears and nose have started to emerge.
  3. The third threat is from the abortion lobby. Earlier this year the abortion lobby failed to pass two extreme abortion up to birth amendments that Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Diana Johnson tabled. The abortion lobby, led by BPAS and MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International), has made it clear that they will be working with pro-abortion MPs to try and force through major changes to our abortion laws that would allow abortion up to birth. A law change that allows abortion up to birth was passed in New Zealand in 2020 by the then Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern’s Government, and that country saw a 43% increase in late-term abortions in the same year. 

If these three major threats from our opposition are successful, thousands of lives will be lost.

This year we successfully ran our biggest campaign in 26 years to fight the abortion lobby’s abortion up to birth amendments. This has used a considerable amount of Right To Life UK's limited resources since our last appeal for donations from supporters last year.

To cover this gap and ensure we effectively defeat these proposals during the coming months, we are aiming to raise at least £100,000 by midnight on Sunday 14 July.

We are, therefore, appealing to you to please give as generously as you can. Every single donation, no matter how small, will go towards saving the lives of the unborn and many others.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a donation now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?