By Gudrun Schultz
LIVINGSTON, United Kingdom, March 7, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A prenatal screening test given to a UK woman in early pregnancy showed her baby had died, and the next day she underwent a procedure to remove the child's body from the womb. Three weeks later, however, she discovered her baby was alive and healthy, in a miraculous escape from failed technology.
Jake Brown was born Feb. 24 at St. John's Hospital in Livingston, healthy and untouched by the trauma of his early development, The Telegraph reported March 7. His mother, Julie Brown, 29, said "The thought of them trying to get rid of a perfectly healthy baby makes me sick to the pit of my stomach, but I've got to move forward now."
The hospital had conducted a scan on Mrs. Brown at five and a half weeks gestation and could not find a heart beat or signs of growth. She was told the child had died and scheduled for a dilation and curettage procedure the next day. Somehow, her baby survived.
""The hospital has explained to me exactly what went wrong (with the diagnosis)," Mrs. Brown said. "The baby's sac hadn't changed size, but the baby had. The woman carrying out the scan didn't notice this and she thought I'd miscarried."
Errors in prenatal testing are far more common than many people realize. While more and more parents are depending on technology to identify potential health problems in their unborn children, many are not aware of the significant inaccuracy rates in prenatal screening. Abortion of the child is most often the result, even though in many cases scans are inconclusive or show only an increased possibility of health problems.
Down's syndrome is one of the most common pre-natal diagnoses to lead to abortion--but studies show screening tests for Down's are inaccurate up to 40 percent of the time.
A recent Canadian study found more natural differences between the genetic code of individuals than previous researchers had thought existed, leading to greater difficulty in establishing a "normal" genetic code as a basis for evaluating pre-natal scans. Published in the journal Nature, the report suggested that prenatal screening may incorrectly diagnose genetic differences as "defects".
While the Browns don't intend to pursue legal action against the hospital, the couple said the mistake caused pain and trauma to the whole family.
"They booked me in for an operation to remove the baby and we were all devastated,' Mrs. Brown said. "We then had to explain to my children Sarah and Leon that the baby had gone to heaven. My husband and the children were in floods of tears."
See related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Prenatal Screening not so Accurate as Once Thought - "Normal" Children Killed as "Defective"?
British Abortion Rate Skyrockets as Couples Eliminate "Defective" Children
UK Doctors Who Performed Frivolous Late-Term Abortions Let Off
"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"