ALS patient gives birth to baby boy

Updated: 2013-01-30 16:38


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ALS patient gives birth to baby boy

Lyu Yuanfang takes physical examination before the Cesarean section at the Aviation General Hospital in Beijing on Jan 30. [Zou Hong/Asianewsphoto]

Most health specialists believe it is too risky for ALS patients to become pregnant. But Lyu, knowing her disease was fatal, said she felt it was important to have a child to keep her husband company after she dies.

"The child will make our family complete like all other families. That is the happiest thing I can think of," she said in an interview she gave before giving birth.

The couple arrived in Beijing in late December but were turned away by several hospitals, as doctors feared her disease could cause respiratory failure during the Cesarean section and prove fatal for both mother and child.

After their story was covered by local media, the Aviation General Hospital offered to perform a Cesarean section for Lyu, as well as shoulder all of her medical costs.

Lyu was hospitalized on January 22 and underwent a wide range of checkups to prepare for her surgery.

Her operation date was fixed for Tuesday, the same day she began to have breathing difficulties.

She told doctors that in case she died during childbirth, she and her family were ready to donate her corneas to help visually-impaired people regain their sight.

Her story has received wide media coverage and moved thousands of people online. Many people have donated cash, baby clothes and other supplies for the mother and child.

"We have raised more than 10,000 yuan for Lyu and her baby and will visit them at the hospital after she recovers from the operation," said Ma Bin, administrator of an online group for ALS patients.

There are currently about 200,000 ALS patients in China. Since treatment is expensive and not covered by most social welfare programs, many are forced to forego care.

ALS strikes one to three people in every 100,000. Patients progressively lose muscle strength, eventually becoming paralyzed and unable to speak, move, swallow or breathe. British scientist Stephen Hawking is one of the most well-known ALS patients.