Cambridgeshire

Newmarket baby becomes UK's youngest organ donor

Hope and Josh Lee Image copyright Andrew Lee
Image caption Hope Lee (left) died 74 minutes after being born and left behind her younger twin brother Josh

A baby who died 74 minutes after birth has become the UK's youngest organ donor.

The parents of Hope Lee had known for months she would have a short lifespan due to a deadly brain and skull condition.

Emma and Andrew Lee, from Newmarket, agreed Hope's kidneys would be made available for transplant.

Mr Lee said: "There's an adult lady out there who is doing very well, so a lot of good has come out of it."

Image copyright Andrew Lee
Image caption Andrew and Emma Lee with their elder daughter Maddie

Hope was born at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, last week ahead of her twin brother Josh, as first reported in the Cambridge News.

'Sad time'

Her parents found out she had a condition called anencephaly in the 13th week of pregnancy and they rejected having her terminated.

Mr Lee said: "It was a very sad time, but our whole family are signed-up for organ donation.

"We had time to plan everything we wanted to do and the hospital was able to put into action the transplant of the kidneys and some liver cells were taken as well."


Neo-natal organ donation

  • 43 babies under two-years-old have donated organs in the UK since 2005
  • Only 11 babies under 60-days-old have donated organs in the UK
  • Hope Lee is the second baby with anencephaly to donate organs
  • Hope is the youngest baby to donate organs for transplant in the UK

Source: NHS Organ Donation


Hope's father said if they had not planned it in advance, they might not have been able to go through with the organ donation plan after Hope was born.

"Just before she died she bent her fingers around my finger and I broke down," he said.

"Seventy four minutes isn't long, but it has given us a chance for a bit of closure."

Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant director, said: "It is exceptionally rare for very young babies to become organ donors.

"We are very grateful to Emma and Andrew for making such a courageous decision and to offer a chance of life to others at a time of personal loss."

Teddy Houlston of Cardiff was the previous youngest organ donor in the UK after he died about 100 minutes after his birth in in 2014.

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