Incompatible with life?

A prenatal diagnosis which describes a congenital condition as “incompatible with life” is often misleading.

Baby Avonlea, a child whose condition was once described as "not compatible with life."

“Although many of the congenital syndromes that used to be lethal no longer are, they are still routinely referred to as 'lethal anomalies,” according to the Hastings Center, a non-profit bioethics research institute. The group warns that description “is not only inaccurate, it is also dangerous: by portraying as a medical determination what is in fact a judgment about the child’s quality of life, it wrests from the parents a decision that only the parents can make.”

  • Learn more about Baby Avonlea and other children whose conditions (such as Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13) were characterized as "not compatible with life."