A Haughton woman with a fatal pregnancy is making a selfless contribution to science with the help of the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency. Kirsten Heintz with LOPA says at 18 weeks pregnant, Brittney Walls found out her baby suffers from a fatal disease that causes the brain and skull to be underdeveloped.
She says Walls decided to donate her baby’s neonatal tissue for research.
“They’re able to take the neonatal pancreas, for instance, and do testing to help make big advances in Type I diabetes,” Heintz said.
Heintz says Walls’ baby is not eligible to be an organ donor, but with research donation she can help millions of people, instead of just one. She says Walls will carry her child to term before being induced to donate the infant’s tissue. She says this donation can bring a sense of fulfillment for mothers who will inevitably lose their child.
“Often our mothers that have done this type of donation say that their children have accomplished more with their donations that they have in their entire lives, and it gives them a sense of purpose for their pregnancies,” Heintz said.
Walls has decided to name the child Anastacia Faith, and doctors say she may live a few hours or a couple of days, but no more than that. Heintz says LOPA strives to make the little time these mothers have with their children as precious as possible.
“They often will take pictures. They’ll have special moments of things they want to do, like the handprints and the footprints, and we’re happy to help with any of those that we can while they still have them and still fulfill the donation request,” Heintz said.