A mother in Tennessee decided to carry her baby to full term even after doctors told her that the baby would live only for about 30 minutes. She made the decision so that her baby’s other organs may be donated to other children in need.

Birth Defect Diagnosis

Krysta Davis was 18 weeks pregnant when she was told by doctors that the daughter she was carrying had an abnormality called anencephaly, which means that the unborn baby has missing parts of her skull and brain. They told her that the baby would likely not last for over 30 minutes after her birth, and gave her the choice of either having labor induced immediately, or to carry on with the pregnancy and eventually donate the baby's organs.

It was naturally difficult for Davis to take the news given that she had previously miscarried, but in the end, she decided to carry her baby full term. According to Davis, even if they would not be able to take their baby home, they would be able to spare a mother from going through their ordeal.

Baby Organ Donor

Amazingly, however, their baby Rylei survived for an entire week after she was born on Christmas eve. After she died on New Year’s Eve, her heart valves were donated to two children, and her lungs were donated to a children’s hospital.

As hard as the ordeal was, Davis says that it was still great that they got to share Rylei’s story, and to know that she has given two other babies a chance to live.


As mentioned, anencephaly is a serious birth defect wherein the baby is missing parts of the brain and skull. It is a neural tube defect that happens when the neural tube does not close all the way and results in parts of the brain not being covered by skin or bone.

About three in 10,000 pregnancies in the United States are affected by anencephaly, and in some cases, it is not even diagnosed until the baby is born. Almost all of the babies born with it die shortly after birth.

So far, the causes of anencephaly are unknown, although some babies have it due to factors such as changes in their genes or chromosomes, or medications taken during pregnancy.

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