Heartbroken This Morning viewers hailed the bravery of a pregnant woman who is giving birth to her baby daughter despite knowing the child will die.
Hayley Martin has chosen to carry little Ava-Joy, who has a rare genetic disorder, to full term in order to donate the baby’s organs to others in need.
In an emotional interview with Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, the heartbroken mum said she has no regrets about choosing to give birth to Ava-Joy rather than terminate the pregnancy.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.
“She’s my child.”
Devastated Hayley and husband Scott discovered their fourth child had bilateral renal agenesis during their 19-week scan.
Hayley had suspected something wasn’t quite right in the run-up to the scan, having experienced three previous pregnancies and their symptoms.
“I kept saying something was wrong and they kept telling me I had bad morning sickness,” she said.
“But when I got to about 19 weeks, I could lie on my stomach and I thought that wasn’t normal. I’ve been pregnant three times before and that wasn’t right. But I thought maybe I was being over-sensitive or anxious and once I got to the scan, everything would be alright.
Hayley and Scott said they arrived for the scan in a jovial mood, chatting about the baby’s gender – but it soon became clear something was very wrong.
“We were in the scan, laughing with each other, having a good giggle and then the sonographer just stopped laughing and went really quiet,” said Scott.
“The silence raised alarm bells and we just looked at each other. She asked if we could give her a minute, left the room, and somebody else came in and did another scan before leaving the room.”
Hayley said: “You could hear them having conversations between themselves.
“I’m lying in there and no one is telling me anything.”
The couple were advised to terminate the pregnancy and told once it passed the 22-week mark, a needle would have to be placed into the baby’s heart to stop it.
“That wasn’t even a consideration,” said Hayley. “It was automatically, ‘I don’t want to let her go’.”
Hayley said while many of Ava-Joy’s organs won’t have developed before birth, they can still donate her tissues.
“We can donate her heart valves,” said Hayley. “What they can do, is between 24 hours and 48 hours after she passes, they will come in, take her away, and the heart valves can be stored for up to ten years.
“Anything is better than nothing.
“I know that she can’t donate proper organs but tissue is just as valuable.”
Viewers were absolutely in awe of the couple’s bravery and poise, taking to social media to share their heartbreak at the story and wish them well.
This Morning airs weekdays at 10.30am on ITV.