Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Saturday, 31 May 2008 12:33 UK

Ovary baby survives against odds

Meera Thangarajah and baby Durga (pic: AFP/Getty)
Healthy baby Durga was born at 38 weeks weighing 6lb 3oz

A woman in Australia has given birth to a healthy baby girl after a rare full-term ectopic pregnancy.

Against all odds, baby Durga survived despite developing in her mother's ovary instead of her uterus.

Her mother Meera Thangarajah, 34, had shown no signs of abnormality and doctors only realised when they performed a Caesarean section.

Most ectopic pregnancies end in miscarriage or are terminated early because of the risk to the mother.

With an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo can rupture the fallopian tube, leading to massive internal bleeding - and possibly death - for the mother.

Just 1-2% of all pregnancies are ectopic, and in 95% of those cases the egg is fertilised in the fallopian tubes on its way to the uterus.

In 0.5% of cases, including this one, the baby grows inside the ovary itself.

Pre-natal scan

Mrs Thangarajah gave birth on Thursday at the Darwin Private Hospital in Australia's Northern Territory.

General manager Robyn Cahill told the Associated Press news agency that mother and baby were both doing well.

There is a great risk in such a pregnancy of bleeding
Dr Maggie Blott
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Normally, a woman with an ectopic pregnancy would present with severe pain and bleeding in the first few weeks after conception.

But Ms Cahill said Mrs Thangarajah had experienced no symptoms, and the abnormality did not show up on a pre-natal scan.

She said only 1 in 40,000 fertilisations implant in the ovary, and it was unheard of for one of those foetuses grow to full term. But despite those statistics, Durga - meaning Goddess - was born at 38 weeks weighing 6lb 3oz (2.8 kg).

"We're calling it a miracle," Ms Cahill said.

Risk of bleeding

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said the odds of survival in such a pregnancy were "no more than one in a million".

Spokeswoman Dr Maggie Blott said: "One that goes to produce a live healthy baby is very unusual.

Dr Blott on the rare occurrence of full-term ectopic pregnancies

"There is a great risk in such a pregnancy of bleeding.

"And had it been picked up at six to eight weeks, it would have been removed because of the risk to the mother.

"This type of pregnancy is very rare indeed."

Obstetrician Dr Andrew Miller, who delivered Durga, told AFP news agency that he had not realised there was a problem until he saw the ovary stretched almost to breaking point.

"And you can't believe that the baby, just by normal movement, wouldn't have caused the sac [inside the ovary] to rupture," he said.

"It was so paper thin you could see the baby's hair."

The baby's father, Ravi, told local television that doctors had told him: "You're one of the luckiest men in the world at the moment."

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12 Apr 06 |  Southern Counties

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