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Parents Agree to Donate Daughter's Organs for First Newborn Transplant

The Short of It

Parents of a newborn born in very poor health in the United Kingdom agreed to donate her organs in a first of its kind transplant. And you may surprised by what they have to say about their heartbreaking decision.

The Lowdown

A baby girl who lived for just six days will forever change the lives of two people through the donation of her organs. Both of her kidneys and her liver cells were transplanted into other patients after her heart stopped beating less than a week after her birth.

It's impossible to imagine the agonizing decision her parents had to make. But after they learned their daughter had been deprived of oxygen before her birth and suffered profound brain damage, they wanted something good to come out of their tragic situation.

According to doctors at the Imperial College NHS Trust in London, the family's act of "extraordinary generosity" resulted in successful transplants, the first of their kind. Never before in the U.K. have organs been harvested from a newborn.

"This turned out to be a positive thing for the family. They could see something positive out of a negative experience," Dr. Gaurav Atreja told BBC News.

The Upshot

The size of organs often affects transplants, so sick infants sometimes can't get the life-saving procedures they need. Although it's unknown if the organ recipients were babies or adults, this case gives British doctors new hope for the future of newborn transplants.

Meanwhile, the parents, whose identities are being kept private, are beyond brave for what they did. It's amazing to think that although their daughter's life was cut so tragically short, she lives on through others.

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