Investigation After Healthy Baby Aborted for 'Fatal Foetal Anomaly'


An investigation has been ordered after a baby was aborted at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, having been mistakenly diagnosed with Edward’s Syndrome, a so-called “fatal foetal anomaly”. The review is being carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK in response to a complaint made by a couple who attended the hospital in March.


The woman involved was tested for a potential abnormality in chromosome 18, which can give rise to Edward’s Syndrome, or Trisomy18. The Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test, which was processed in the UK, involves taking cells from the placenta, which are split into two samples.


The first sample, which was processed in five days, showed signs of the abnormality. This test is regarded as 99 per cent accurate, with a false positive rate of just 0.15 per cent. The results of the final part of the definitive findings of the process had not been returned from the UK when the couple were told of the diagnosis. On the basis of first test, the parents opted for an abortion, which was carried out in Holles Street two months ago during the second trimester.


The second sample, however, which took two weeks to process and involved the growing out of cells, came back normal. The parents were shocked to learn the catastrophic news that they had aborted a healthy baby.


The issue has been brought to the attention of the Health Minister, Simon Harris, who has been called on to carry out a statutory investigation.

The Irish Times. May 17. Irish Independent. May 16. RTÉ. May 17.

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter, Lifezine.

Sustain Our Efforts

Contribute to F&L's publishing efforts with a donation today.

Donate Now