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Premature baby weighing just 212g, now healthy and happy two-year old

A baby born four months early in Singapore, weighing only 212g at birth, is now a healthy two-year old.

Kwek Yu Xuan was born in June 2020, four months before her due date, weighing only a tenth of what a normal newborn should weigh.

She was born so prematurely that she had to stay in the National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore for over a year before being discharged in June 2021, weighing 6.3kg. Even at that point she had chronic lung disease – a condition common in babies born extremely prematurely – and had to use a ventilator at home for oxygen assistance.

“While Yu Xuan’s chances of survival were low, the neonatal team cared for her around the clock, including with new innovative ways”.

Today though, Yu Xuan no longer needs a ventilator. She does need a feeding tube through her nose, but apart from that, her mother reports that she is a healthy and happy child. Yu Xuan is now 10.2kg, very close to the normal weight for a child her age.

Dr Yvonne Ng, a senior consultant at the department of neonatology at NUH’s Khoo Teck Puat – National University Children’s Medical Institute, said her team follows up with the baby’s growth and development as well as with the parents on how to cope with caring for the preterm baby at home.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung praised the efforts of Yu Xuan’s medical team: “While Yu Xuan’s chances of survival were low, the neonatal team cared for her around the clock, including with new innovative ways. They improvised feeding tubes, refashioned diapers for her small frame and took special care of her fragile skin to minimise infections”, he said.

Survival rates for extremely premature babies are improving all the time

Abortion is available up to 24 weeks in the UK. However, the outcomes for premature babies with medical complications like Yu Xuan are improving all the time.

Earlier this year, John Wyatt, Professor of Ethics and Perinatology at University College London and also Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics, Ethics & Perinatology at University College London, presented evidence to parliamentarians from the UK and across the world showing “that there has been a steady improvement in the chances of survival of babies born at 22 and 23 weeks gestation since the Abortion Act was last amended [in 1990]”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “The prospects for premature babies are improving all the time. Even babies like Yu Xuan with medical complications are able to survive and thrive thanks to advances in medical technology and the work of neonatal care units like the one in which Yu Xuan was treated. In light of these advances that show the humanity of unborn and prematurely born babies all the more clearly, there is an urgent need to revisit our abortion laws”.

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.