Mother-to-be reveals a private ultrasound failed to pick up on her baby’s deadly disease

A mother-to-be has revealed how an ultrasound scan failed to pick up a deadly genetic disorder in her unborn baby.  

Melissa Barker, 19, paid £45 ($55) for a ‘wellbeing and gender reveal’ scan with a private company when she was 17 weeks pregnant.

After being told she was expecting a healthy baby girl, Miss Barker decided to name her Skyler-Rose and threw a gender-reveal party with her boyfriend Tom Smith, 21.

But their joy was short-lived when an NHS scan at 20 weeks revealed the baby has a host of health problems, which could cause it to die in the womb or live just minutes.

On June 25, a doctor confirmed the infant has Edwards’ syndrome, which has left them with a hole in their heart, arteries the wrong way round, an abnormally large left kidney and stunted arms.

Miss Barker, of Blackburn, then underwent a second scan, also on the NHS, which revealed she is actually expecting a baby boy. 

Now 24 weeks, Miss Barker is determined to continue with her pregnancy. 

Melissa Barker (pictured left before she became pregnant) paid for a private ultrasound scan which 'revealed' she is expecting a healthy baby girl. Just three weeks later, an NHS scan showed her baby is actually male and has a host of severe health problems, which will cause him to die in the womb or within minutes of being born

Melissa Barker (pictured left before she became pregnant) paid for a private ultrasound scan which 'revealed' she is expecting a healthy baby girl. Just three weeks later, an NHS scan showed her baby is actually male and has a host of severe health problems, which will cause him to die in the womb or within minutes of being born

She decided to name her 'daughter' Skyler-Rose and threw a gender-reveal party with her boyfriend Tom Smith (pictured together at the celebration)

She decided to name her 'daughter' Skyler-Rose and threw a gender-reveal party with her boyfriend Tom Smith (pictured together at the celebration)

Melissa Barker (pictured left before she became pregnant) paid for a private ultrasound scan which ‘revealed’ she is expecting a healthy baby girl. She decided to name her ‘daughter’ Skyler-Rose and threw a gender-reveal party with her boyfriend Tom Smith (pictured right). Just three weeks later, an NHS scan showed her baby is actually male and has a host of severe health problems, which will cause him to die in the womb or within minutes of being born

The scan (pictured) was carried out by the Window to the Womb clinic in Blackburn, which has 35 centres across the country. Miss Barker paid £45 ($55) for the scan, which supposedly gave her baby the 'all clear' after checking its skull, brain, lungs, heart and amniotic fluid

The scan (pictured) was carried out by the Window to the Womb clinic in Blackburn, which has 35 centres across the country. Miss Barker paid £45 ($55) for the scan, which supposedly gave her baby the 'all clear' after checking its skull, brain, lungs, heart and amniotic fluid

The scan (pictured) was carried out by the Window to the Womb clinic in Blackburn, which has 35 centres across the country. Miss Barker paid £45 ($55) for the scan, which supposedly gave her baby the ‘all clear’ after checking its skull, brain, lungs, heart and amniotic fluid

Miss Barker is a student and planned to take a year off to raise her child.

She paid to have a private scan at the Window to the Womb clinic in Blackburn, which has 35 centres across the country, because she was eager to find out her baby’s sex as soon as possible.

Her nephew was also born with clubbed feet, which made Miss Barker anxious to find out if her baby was healthy. 

Miss Barker claims no issues were flagged after the scan supposedly checked her baby’s skull, brain, lungs, heart and amniotic fluid. 

To confirm everything she had been told was true, Miss Barker had a second scan on the NHS weeks later, where she was told her baby had Edwards’ syndrome.

She only discovered her ‘daughter’ is actually male after having an additional NHS scan on Tuesday at Burnley General Teaching Hospital. 

‘I was completely devastated and heartbroken when I discovered my son, which originally was my unborn girl, had several serious medical issues,’ she said.

‘The [private] clinic did not say there was anything wrong with the baby, it said everything was okay.

‘I don’t understand why none of this was picked up during the wellbeing scan.’

Despite her son’s devastating prognosis, Miss Barker and Mr Smith are determined to stay positive.

‘Week by week we are living in hope,’ she said. ‘We are hoping for two minutes to hold him. Just to spend some time with him, it’s not going to last long.

‘We had been calling him Skyler-Rose and our little princess, buying so many things and it all now has to be changed.

‘It sounds very stupid but it’s like I have lost my little girl.’   

Miss Barker's mother Helen King (pictured together) claims Window to the Womb offered to change the toys the mother-to-be bought there from pink to blue when told of their mistake

Miss Barker's mother Helen King (pictured together) claims Window to the Womb offered to change the toys the mother-to-be bought there from pink to blue when told of their mistake

Miss Barker’s mother Helen King (pictured together) claims Window to the Womb offered to change the toys the mother-to-be bought there from pink to blue when told of their mistake

Miss Barker (pictured before she became pregnant) is determined to carry her baby to full-term or for as long as she can

Miss Barker (pictured before she became pregnant) is determined to carry her baby to full-term or for as long as she can

She claims she just wants to spend 'two minutes with him'

She claims she just wants to spend 'two minutes with him'

Miss Barker (pictured left and right before she became pregnant) is determined to carry her baby for as long as she can. She claims she just wants to spend ‘two minutes with him’

Miss Barker is pictured excitedly showing off her baby bump before the devastating news

Miss Barker is pictured excitedly showing off her baby bump before the devastating news

Miss Barker is pictured excitedly showing off her baby bump before the devastating news

Miss Barker’s mother Helen King claims Window to the Womb offered them ‘male toys’ after being informed of its mistake. 

‘Nothing can change a baby’s condition but we could have dealt with things sooner,’ Ms King said.

‘I rang the centre, explained everything and they offered to change some pink toys we had bought while we were there for blue ones, and offered us a spoken apology.’

Miss Barker and Mr Smith are speaking out to raise £500 ($621) for their unborn child’s funeral. 

Fewer than five per cent of babies with Edward’s syndrome reach their first birthdays, figures suggest.

More than 95 per cent of babies with the disorder die before they are born, statistics show. Those that are delivered tend to pass away within minutes.

A spokesperson from Window to the Womb said: ‘Melissa’s scan was completed by an experienced sonographer who works within the NHS conducting diagnostic scans.

‘We are confident all of our scan protocols, as laid out by industry experts and our insurance were followed.

‘This has been thoroughly checked by our clinical lead sonographer and her conclusion is that, at the time of the scan, there were no signs of any internal abnormalities.’         

On its website, Window To The Womb says: ‘The detection rate of abnormalities may vary depending on your gestation at the time of your scan.’

It also states its 16-to-22 week gender scans are 99.9 per cent accurate. 

You can donate towards the couple’s funeral costs here.  

WHAT IS EDWARDS’ SYNDROME? 

Edwards’ syndrome, also known as trisomy 18, is a rare but serious genetic condition.

More than 95 per cent of babies with the disorder die before they are born, statistics show. Those that are delivered tend to pass away within minutes.  

Some infants with a less severe form of the disease live beyond a year, but it is very rare to survive into adulthood. 

Edwards’ syndrome occurs when a baby has three copies of chromosome number 18, rather than the usual two. This severely disrupts their development.

The condition is thought to affect between one in every 6,000 to 8,000 births worldwide. 

It is rarely inherited and usually comes about at a random time during the formation of the sperm or egg.

If a baby survives, symptoms include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Small, abnormally-shaped head
  • Small jaw and mouth
  • Long fingers that overlap and underdeveloped thumbs
  • Low-set ears
  • Cleft lip or palate
  • Heart and kidney problems
  • Feeding and breathing issues
  • Hernias in the wall of the stomach
  • Bone abnormalities that lead to a curved spine
  • Frequent lung and urinary infections
  • Severe learning disabilities

Edwards’ syndrome is looked for in the scan pregnant women are offered on the NHS at 10-to-14 weeks.

Some women choose to terminate their pregnancy if Edwards’ syndrome is diagnosed.

There is no cure. Treatment focuses on addressing life-threatening issues, such as infections and heart defects.

If a child survives, they may need phsyio or occupational therapy to help with their movement.  

Source: NHS  

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