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Half of very premature babies in the Netherlands now survive

Thursday 24 January 2013

New rules introduced in the Netherlands in late 2010 have had a marked effect on the survival rates of very premature babies, the NRC reports on Thursday.

Half the 178 babies born at 24 or 25 weeks in the Netherlands in 2011 survived, the research shows. The survival rate, which researcher Monique de Laat describes as 'good', is comparable to other countries.

The Netherlands introduced the 24-week deadline in October 2010. Before then, it was up to individual hospitals whether or not to treat very premature infants.

Very premature babies can suffer major complications because their organs, including their lungs, are not fully developed. There are no figures comparing the health of 2011's surviving premature infants with those born at 40 weeks.

The NRC points out the 24-week deadline is significant in the Netherlands because it is the upper limit for abortions. Late abortions are usually only carried out in the Netherlands if significant abnormalities are identified during the 20-week scan.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

So, the survival rate has improved because they now treat fewer premature babies...one way to improve your numbers!

By Annette | 24 January 2013 4:42 PM

Same as for old people, the Dutch prefer to let them die because they cost a lot of money to maintain.

By Bentley | 24 January 2013 5:00 PM

A fiend of ours had a baby at 22 weeks and survived in Australia It was 450 gram.

By kees | 24 January 2013 11:09 PM

My niece was born at 23 weeks, her birthweight was 598 grams. She is now a healthy 9-year old girl. If these new rules were implemented earlier, they would have just let her die!

By Shocked | 25 January 2013 9:22 AM

Annette and Shocked: You misunderstand the rules. Annette, hospitals are now treating more babies, not fewer. Shocked, a 23 week premature baby would probably not be treated under the new OR old rules.
The father of a 24-week premature baby
(who was born during the old rues but fortunately born in the US)

By J | 25 January 2013 10:07 AM

Reading comprehension is a virtue. They are not treating fewer premature babies, they're treating more. Previously, hospitals could choose whether or not to treat very premature babies. Effectively, this made the Dutch limit of viability about 26 weeks, as most hospitals chose not to treat babies of an earlier gestation. These rules mean that hospitals must treat babies as young as 24 weeks (considered the limit of viability in most countries). They no longer can choose not to treat them. That means MORE babies are being treated, not fewer.

By Anonymous | 25 January 2013 4:00 PM

I think it is fantastic that the age limited has been brought down to 24 weeks. Unfortunately for some of us this is too little too late.

By Allison | 28 January 2013 10:34 AM

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