India is the second most populated country in the world with 1.2 billion people. The high births in this South Asian nation also means they have one of the highest number of birth defects in the globe. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), however, argues that 70 percent of these cases are preventable. The NCBI points out to high fertility, high rates of unplanned pregnancies, little to no coverage of antenatal care, high rates of carrier for hemoglobinopathies, and consanguineous marriages, are just some of the factors behind birth defects in India. March of Dimes estimates that every year eight million children are born with a “serious birth defect of genetic or partially genetic origin,” in the world. Furthermore, an additional 3.3 million children born with a birth defect die globally every year before reaching the age of five. The World Health Organization estimates that in India, birth defects occur from 61 to 69.9/1,000 live births.The baby was born with bulging eyes and appeared that part of his skull was missing, making his head smaller than usual.
“Several body parts of the baby is not completely developed. When I saw the baby after delivery for the first time, I was completely shocked to see the alien-looking boy,” Begum told local reporters.
“I couldn’t believe that I had a delivered an alien-like boy,” she admitted. “I was so shocked and saddened by this that I asked the midwife to take the baby out of my sight.”
Babies with this condition have very thick skin throughout the body, consequently, affecting the shape of the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. Babies born with this severe genetic disorder often have limited mobilities with their limbs, struggle with breathing, and regulating their body’s temperature.
Anencephaly is branded as a serious neural tube birth defect by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Babies affected by anencephaly are born without part of their brain and skull.
Since the United States increased the requirement of folic acid intake among pregnant women, pregnancies with neural tube defects have decreased by 28 percent.
In addition to not being able to control the body temperature, infants with harlequin ichthyosis also experience excessive loss of fluids, and inability to fight off infections.
Within hours though, she had changed her mind.
The Hindu deity is seen as a guardian. His figure appears in temples throughout the country to ward off demons. His statue is placed along dangerous roads to protect motorists and pedestrians.
Many of their deities appear to have multiple limbs and what would be described as physical deformities today.
Stephanie Turner is the oldest living person with harlequin ichthyosis.
She is mom to Willy and Olivia.
The Wynne, Arkansas native’s skin sheds skin and grows seven times faster than the average person.
Her condition also means she has a low immune system, therefore, susceptible to infections.
This was repeated a couple of times a day.
“My skin sheds even inside my ears and nose, which made it hard to hear and sometimes itched a ton, so my mom used tweezers to remove the excess skin,” Turner told Good Housekeeping.
“I’ve actually had someone come up to me and ask if I was in a fire,” Turner recalls.
“When it gets hot outside or the weather changes drastically, I can’t sweat, so my skin hurts and I overheat,” she says. “If it gets too hot I had to stay in, I’d get sick, pus would come up, my skin would hurt and it would be awful.”
They got married when Turner was 20 and found out they were pregnant shortly after. Doctors, however, were concerned her skin stretching as the baby was growing would be too much for her.
“His reasoning was that in addition to the dangers to my health, there was a 50/50 chance that my baby could have my condition or another form of ichthyosis,” Turner explains. “What if I was putting myself through all this pain and then the baby died? I said, ‘Who better to take care of my baby than someone who knows what it’s like to go through this?'”
Stephanie Turner passed away on March 3, 2017. She outlived past the hours and days doctors expected her to live. She also did the unthinkable and gave birth to two beautiful children. Her husband wrote of her passing, “She leaves behind two blessings from God and has entrusted me to raise these two children of ours to be the kindest, selfless, giving man and woman they can grow into. Stephanie, my heart aches for you, our time was cut short. You have forever changed my life as well as all the people whom you have ever known.”