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Parents tell of baby organ decision

Published 23/04/2015

Baby Teddy Houlston lived for just 100 minutes
Baby Teddy Houlston lived for just 100 minutes

The parents of Britain's youngest organ donor said knowing their newborn son saved someone's life had given them a great deal of comfort.

Teddy Houlston died only 100 minutes old because of a rare fatal condition that stopped his skull and brain from developing in the womb.

His mother Jess Evans learned the heartbreaking news 12 weeks into her pregnancy with twins.

But the 28-year-old and her fiance Mike Houlston were determined their son's short life would make a big difference - and allowed for his kidneys and heart valves to be donated.

And the Cardiff couple have spoken of their pride knowing their son had helped save the life of a man in Leeds who was suffering with renal failure.

Miss Evans said: "Knowing that part of your loved one is living on in someone else is comforting. If it stops any other person going through the same thing then this can only be good. Teddy's life had a very important role to play. Unless you have been through the same thing or know someone affected it's hard to understand how important organ donation is."

Babies who have the rare and lethal skull abnormality called anencephaly either die in the womb, are stillborn or live for just seconds, minutes or hours after birth.

Doctors had offered Teddy's parents the option of an abortion, but the couple decided against it - saying they would cherish even holding him for a moment.

Miss Evans added: "Following Teddy's diagnosis we had some time to acclimatise to what might happen, therefore we decided early on as a family that we would want to go ahead with the pregnancy and donate his organs if this was possible.

"My mother was very keen to teach her own children about the importance of organ donation and I remember her talking to me about it when I was young. Even when I was in primary school I wanted to be on the organ donor register and encouraged friends, family and boyfriends to sign up."

Teddy's twin Noah managed to survive and his parents say he will learn all about his brother's amazing gift of life.

In an interview with The Daily Mirror Mr Houlston said: "He lived and died a hero. It's impossible to explain how proud we are of him."

Dr Paul Murphy, of NHS Blood and Transplant, described Teddy's donation as "exceptional".

He said: "Every donation is inspirational. It is a selfless act of heroism.

"But Teddy's story is exceptional. He was the youngest organ donor in the UK."

Childhood sweethearts Miss Evans and Mr Houlston said discovering one of their sons would not survive was soul destroying.

But Miss Evans told the Mirror: "We thought even if we had a moment with him, or 10 minutes, or an hour, that time was the most precious thing we would ever experience.

"And it helps us so much to know he has helped someone else and helped doctors realise donation from small babies is possible and is something people like us want to make happen."

Teddy's parents added they also wanted to help others in similar situations via the charity 2 Wish Upon a Star and have set up a fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/teddysneverendingjourney

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