A pregnant mother broke down in tears during a TV interview as she explained her plans to carry her dying baby to full term, so that the infant’s organs can be donated to babies in need of life-saving transplants.
At the time of her 20-week scan, Hayley Martin, 30, from Hull in East Yorkshire was given the devastating news that her baby will die during labour, or within minutes of being born, due to bilateral renal agenesis – a rare genetic disorder.
Although doctors suggested she terminate the pregnancy in order to avoid the trauma of delivery, the mother-of-three pledged to carry her daughter – who she has named Ava Joy – to term in order that she can help newborns in need.
‘We didn’t even consider it [the termination],’ Hayley said during an emotional interview on This Morning on Tuesday.
‘I wouldn’t have it any other way though. She is my child,’ said Hayley, who added that the decision gave her and husband Scott – who joined her on the sofa – no cause for hesitation.
An emotional Hayley Martin was comforted by her husband Scott as she became tearful during the interview on This Morning
Hayley explained their decision not to terminate their unborn baby (pictured in a scan) during their This Morning appearance: ‘We didn’t even consider it. I didn’t want to let her go yet’
The Martins are also planning on starting a charity project in Ava-Joy’s memory to help other families who decide to carry to term, despite a fatal diagnosis
Mrs Martin and her husband Scott, also 30, hope their unborn child will live on through the lives of children her organs help to save, the couple have said.
But the tearful mother explained that, because of the diagnosis, there is a chance that her baby’s organs will not fully develop.
Hayley’s voice broke as she explained that the only tissue that will prove suitable for donation is likely to be Ava-Joy’s heart valves.
Surgeons must operate within 24-48 hours of her birth and before she passes away.
She added: ‘They can store them up to 10 years, and anything is better than nothing. I know she cant donate proper organs but tissue is just as valuable.’
It was difficult for Hayley to speak about her daughter who she knows is going to die after giving birth
The brave mother, however, spoke about her plans to have Ava-Joy’s organs donated to children in need
Pregnant Hayley Martin has known from her 20-week scan that the child she is carrying will die during labour or moments after birth, pictured here with husband Scott with daughters Kiowa, 7, and Layla, 5
The selfless mother, who is likely to be induced during Christmas week, a month before her official due date, has even vowed to donate one of her own kidneys in Ava-Joy’s name as soon as she has recovered from the birth.
Mrs Martin said in a previous interview: ‘Our child is going to die no matter what, but if we can try and save somebody else the grief we are going through, it will all be worth it.
‘It was not an easy decision but it was the right decision, and it has helped me cope with the heartbreak.
‘A part of her will live on, she won’t be completely gone. She will be alive in somebody else.
‘It is her Christmas gift to other poorly babies.
‘And I want to donate my kidney too because Ava will be born without any to donate. I want to give one in her honour.’
Hayley wants to donate her own kidney too as baby Ava will be born without any to donate
The Martins pictured on their wedding day with their daughters, they hope to save newborns lives by donating their baby’s organs
The couple from Hull don’t want their children Kiowa, Layla and Oliver, to be shielded from the tragedy and will grow up telling them about their younger sister, Ava
Mr and Mrs Martin, who already have three children, were thrilled to learn they were expecting another baby earlier this year.
But a few months later the mum-of-three said something didn’t feel right as she didn’t ‘feel pregnant’ and her stomach didn’t feel big enough.
At 19-weeks she could still lie on her tummy because she hardly had a bump.
When they went to their five-month scan, the couple were expecting to find out the sex of the baby, but instead were heartbroken to discover their child, who they named Ava-Joy would not survive beyond pregnancy.
Ava-Joy was diagnosed with bilateral renal agenesis – a rare genetic disorder.
It is always fatal and means the baby has no kidneys or bladder and is not surrounded by enough amniotic fluid, causing underdeveloped lungs.
The doctors explained it was a terminal diagnosis and their baby would go into respiratory arrest very soon after birth.
‘Ava-Joy, no matter what, will always be my daughter and she will always be my children’s little sister,’ Mrs Martin said
The couple hope to dress Ava-Joy in the outfits they have bought for her, take photographs and stay close to her after she’s born
The baby has to weigh a minimum of 5.5lbs to become an organ donor and the couple are still unsure about what their daughter will be able to donate, but think her heart valves, liver cells and pancreas are the likely candidates
The baby has to weigh a minimum of 5.5lbs to become an organ donor and the couple are still unsure about what their daughter will be able to donate, but think her heart valves, liver cells and pancreas are the likely candidates.
Mr Martin, an events first aider, said finding out the news was the most painful moment of the couple’s lives.
‘We went home that night and couldn’t say a word to each other. I felt like I was choking.
‘Hayley went upstairs and sank into the bed, just lying there in the dark.’
If Ava-Joy doesn’t pass away during labour, doctors are hoping the couple will have at least a few moments with their daughter while she is still alive.
The Martins are also planning on starting a charity project in Ava-Joy’s memory to help other families who decide to carry to term, despite a fatal diagnosis.
They want to raise awareness of fatal fetal conditions, and support families by creating ‘memory packs’ to help them capture every precious moment.
Ava’s Butterfly Baby Pathway will provide families with 4D scans, bump casts, journals, memory books and heartbeat bears.
The couple themselves took a recording of Ava-Joy’s heartbeat and had it put into a bear to give them something of their baby to keep after she slips away.
The Martin family are planning on having a wake and a funeral service for Ava-Joy, before she is cremated.
They are Crowdfunding to raise money for her funeral so they can afford a special service.