Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 17:20 UK

Jehovah twins to get transfusion

The twins will be given a blood transfusion

The High Court in Dublin has ruled that doctors can give a blood transfusion to severely anaemic twin babies after they are born later this week.

The parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and refused to give their consent.

Doctors believe the babies are at risk of death or serious life-long disability and need to be delivered early.

They say the babies will need a blood transfusion in the minutes and weeks after their birth.

In a letter to Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, the mother, who is 32 weeks pregnant, said she and her husband loved their children with all their hearts and did not want to cause them harm.

However, she said they could not consent to the transfusion because of their long-held scriptural beliefs.

Jehovah's Witnesses' religious objection to blood transfusions stems from their interpretation of Bible verses that forbid Christians from ingesting blood.

She said she understood the seriousness of the situation and the fact that doctors feared there may be no other choice.

The mother said they would not interfere with the decision of the court, but asked for bloodless alternatives to be tried first.

Ms Justice Laffoy ruled that the doctors could give the transfusion if medically necessary and where no other alternative methods were available.

The court heard the situation arose because the mother refused an injection of a blood product, Anti-D, after the birth of her first child a number of years ago.

Anti-D is given where a mother with the Rhesus D negative blood group gives birth to a Rhesus D positive child.

If Anti-D is not given, the mother will develop antibodies against Rhesus D positive blood, which could affect future pregnancies.

In this case the twins are both Rhesus D positive and the mother's antibodies attacked their red blood cells.

The court also heard the normal management of foetal anaemia is to perform a blood transfusion in the womb, but the parents did not consent to this treatment.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific