Georgia Axford, 19, and Tyler Kelly, 21, a couple, from Yate, South Gloucestershire discovered their daughter Piper-Kohl had spina bifida – a gap in the spine – during the 20-week scan. Spina bifida causes weakness or paralysis in the lower limbs, leaving sufferers dependent on supports or crutches and in severe cases wheelchair-bound. They were told that the only treatment available in the UK was surgery by a doctor who’d never performed the op before, so they paid £9,000 and travelled 570 miles to Germany.
The operation took three hours and surgeons attached a 3.5cm collagen patch over Piper’s spine. Though being born nine weeks premature she spent the next two months in intensive care, before being allowed to go home. The parents won’t know for certain whether the operation has been a complete success until she starts to walk – but so far doctors can’t see any signs of a problem and she’s totally healthy.