Mum carried terminally ill baby so she could donate her organs to save others

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • A mother has told of the tragically difficult decision to carry her terminally ill baby to term with the hope of donating her organs to help others.

    Abbey Ahern from Oklahoma was devastated when she was told the heartbreaking news that at 19 weeks, her baby was ‘incompatible with life’, but decided to continue to carry her baby and give birth traditionally so that she could spend the little time she had with her.

    Abbey, 34, and her husband Robert, 34, were told that their baby daughter suffered from the terminal illness anencephaly, a condition that leads to a miss forming of the brain, skull and scalp, meaning that she would only live a few hours.

    Image: Sarah Libby Photography /

    When she was born, Abbey and Robert called their new born daughter Annie and the family were able to spend just 14 hours and 58 minutes with her before she sadly passed away.

    Speaking to the Daily Mail, Abbey described the experience as ‘the most difficult thing’ she had ever done, but has been comforted by the idea that others may benefit from her baby’s organs.

    ‘Carrying a terminally-ill baby to term was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done.

    ‘For us, even in the midst of our terrible heartbreak we were able to see so much beauty. The process of donating Annie’s organs has been incredibly healing to me, knowing that my baby has saved lives.’

    Abbey and Robert also have two elder daughters, Dylan, seven, and Harper, five, and after Annie they have since given birth to another daughter Ivo, two.

    The mum has spoken openly about the pain and joy she felt experiencing Annie’s short hours of life, although some of her family were sceptical initially.

    ‘From the first moment, we hoped for a live birth and planned a C-section. We wanted a few precious memories with our girl. No-one tried to change our minds, but whenever I told certain family members and friends, they asked, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”‘

    ‘Even my own sisters both told me later that they thought we were crazy for wanting to carry to term’, Abbey told Good House Keeping.

    Image: Sarah Libby Photography /

    Now, the family can take some comfort that Annie’s organs have helped with medical research which will help other babies. Although her organs were not viable for transplant because her oxygen levels were too low, they were able to donate her heart valves and some of her organs which could be used for research.

    Image: Sarah Libby Photography /

    Abbey’s positive and gracious attitude has been inspirational and her story has been shared all over the world. Speaking of the precious time she shared with her daughter, she said:

    ‘Annie got to be with us all day, and she was ready…If she had to die, I’m so glad it was in my arms. She lived a beautiful and incredible 14 hours and 58 minutes.

    ‘She spent her entire life surrounded by love, joy, and peace. There was no sorrow, even when she passed away.’

    Latest Stories