Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Baby whom docs wanted aborted beats the odds

A Kentucky TV station has the story of 10-month-old Ava Grace Milam, whom doctors wanted aborted because, they claimed, they expected she would be capable of nothing but "existing." Now, she is doing much more than just staying alive — and parents hope she will do even better with a treatment of stem cells from umbilical-cord blood.

More from WBKO (emphasis mine):

Ava Grace Milam weighed less than four pounds when she was born because of a fetal stroke.

Fetal strokes are so rare that according to a Yale University study, only 54 cases have been reported in the last 25 years. ...

Tami Milam named her daughter Ava Grace because it sounds like "Amazing Grace."

Ava suffered a stroke while she was still in her mother's womb.

"They didn't know at the time how bad, but they knew it was bad," Milam said.

Doctors found blood in Ava's brain and her body had stopped growing after the stroke.

"They [the doctors] asked for an abortion because they didn't know if she'd be able to do much more because of brain damage," Milam admitted.

Instead, Ava's parents gave their daughter a chance at life and she has beaten the odds.

"She shows emotion. They said she wouldn't be able to do that--that she would just exist, is what they told us," she continued.

Ava laughs, cries and eats like normal babies, even though doctors had predicted she'd need a feeding tube.

But the stroke did affect Ava's speech and movement, and at ten months old, she still can't crawl or push herself up.

She is also showing signs of cerebral palsy.

"That's all I'm asking for is a chance--a chance to live and not to just stay like this for the rest of her life," Milam said.

That chance will come in the form of umbilical cord stem cell treatment .

The match will be made in California and the injection done in Mexico because the procedure isn't approved by the FDA.

Milam says for Grace, she's willing to do whatever it takes.

"Because life is so much more than this, and I want her to experience all of this," Milam assured.

The stem cell injections will cost the Milam family $16,000.

If you'd like to donate to help baby Ava, you can contribute to the Ava Grace Milam Fund at any South Central Bank.
I do not know whether the treatment Ava's parents seek for their daughter is considered safe, so I'd advise using your own discretion in choosing whether to donate towards the procedure. The point to note here is that this is just one of countless cases where doctors urged abortion because of a worrisome prenatal diagnosis — one which proved to be wrong.

Another question, of course, is whether any human being should have the right to deny another human being existence, even if that existence is nothing more than the gift of life itself. Which is to say, even if it is everything.