Spina bifida, which literally means “cleft or split spine,” is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,645 babies are born in the U.S. with spina bifida each year.
Growing up in the 1960’s, Dr. Diana Farmer’s mother taught Sunday school for disabled children where she first met children who had spina bifida.
“It was a really crummy disease,” Farmer said. Dr. Farmer is now leading innovative research, which holds promise of saving lives and lifetimes.
In the video she discusses the improvements that resulted from the initial fetal surgeries, including a reduction in the need for shunts. She now believes that with the latest breakthroughs involving fetal surgery and stem cells that the paralysis associated with spina bifida will be cured in her lifetime.
Most mothers would probably tell their child to sit down and stop standing on the chair in the middle of their family photography session. But when you’re told your son will never walk and he mischievously climbs onto a chair with no help and stands there, posing for the camera … well, you let him do it.
This time last year, I was taking a pregnancy test. Today, I’m the mother of a healthy four month-old little boy who loves to smile and kick his legs like crazy.
Johnna Kerres tells her story of the surgery she and her son underwent before he was born. The fetoscopic surgery contributed to medical research.