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Baby Hope becomes youngest organ donor after dying 74 minutes following birth

Published 01/12/2015

Hope was born at Addenbrooke's Hospital
Hope was born at Addenbrooke's Hospital

A baby girl who tragically died just over an hour after being born has become the country's youngest organ donor.

Baby Hope died only 74 minutes after she was born along with her twin brother Josh last week.

Speaking to the Mirror, Emma Lee and her husband Drew, from Newmarket, Suffolk, said they found out 13 weeks into the pregnancy that Hope was suffering from anencephaly - a rare condition that prevented her skull from developing properly.

Almost all babies with the condition die before birth or within days after birth.

But Mrs Lee, 32, said she was inspired by the story of Teddy Houlston, from Cardiff, who also had the condition and donated his heart valves and kidneys after dying only 100 minutes old in April.

Speaking to the paper, she said: "When we found out Hope wouldn't survive, knowing Teddy's story made me confident doctors could do the same thing.

"Today she is still living on inside someone else and it helps with the grief, it's taken some of the pain away.

"I don't think anyone spoke during the 74 minutes, we just all gave her cuddles."

The couple who had a child, four-year-old Madie, under IVF, underwent the treatment to help conceive again which led to Mrs Lee falling pregnant with twins.

But it was during an ultrasound appointment three months into the pregnancy that she found out about Hope's condition.

Doctors offered the couple the chance to abort the little girl, but they said they were determined that she should live and donate her organs.

"We were distraught but we didn't want her to die in vain," Mrs Lee told the paper.

Shortly after she died, Hope underwent surgery where her kidneys were taken and transplanted into an adult patient.

Cells from her liver were also taken and frozen which will be used to treat patients who are waiting for a liver transplant.

Hope was born by Caesarean section at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge weighing 2lb 13oz while Josh was delivered two minutes later at over 5lbs.

Husband Drew told the paper he and his partner has already decided to call the male twin Josh but were struggling to name his sister - until he came up with Hope.

He said: "The name has really worked well - we have still got her because she is living on in other people.

"She only lived for 74 minutes but she has achieved more than some people do in a lifetime.

"We feel our little girl is a hero."

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