External review to be carried out into termination of pregnancy at Holles Street

A couple have been left devastated after aborting their baby because tests showed that it had a fatal foetal abnormality - only for a subsequent test after the abortion to show that it did not.

The abortion is understood to have been carried out in the National Maternity Hospital in the last few weeks.

When an issue is suspected with a baby a non-invasive blood test is first taken which gives an initial indication as to whether there is an issue or not.

If there is an issue indicated by that test a Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test is carried out.

A sample of cells is taken from the placenta (the organ that links the mother's blood supply with her unborn baby's) and tested for genetic defects.

The sample is divided into two for testing.

The tests on the first sample can take five days to come back and are understood to be 99% accurate.

The second samples’ test results take two weeks to come back.

It is believed that the second of those test results came back after the couple took the decision to terminate the pregnancy.

They are understood to be devastated at what has transpired and it was following their complaints that an investigation has been launched.

A spokesman for NMH said the hospital does not comment on individual cases but he said he could confirm that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Britain “is to review an issue that arose recently”.

A spokesperson for the RCOG said, however: "We can confirm the RCOG has not yet received a formal approach to undertake this review. Should an approach be forthcoming, this will be considered in the usual way.”

Describing news of the review as "an awfully sad and tragic outcome" a spokesperson for the pro-life campaign this morning called on the government to all in their power to ensure nothing similar happens in the future.

“What an awfully sad and tragic outcome for the baby in the latest case. The Minister for Health is duty bound to do whatever it takes to minimise the chances of something like this ever happening again.

"He should start by listening to the stories of parents who have no agenda other than to share their personal stories which shed light on the whole area of misdiagnoses and how it impacts on families and outcomes for the babies at the centre of these cases.”

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