Woman with kidney failure defies doctors to have a baby despite risk to her own lifeAlison had already lost one baby at 24 weeks as a result of her kidney disorderShe spent six days a week on dialysis during her 30-week pregnancy

A woman on kidney dialysis has risked her life to give birth to a healthy baby girl.

Doctors usually advise women not to try for a child if they are suffering from kidney failure as only a handful of British women on dialysis have ever successfully had a child.

However Alison Kirk, 28, was determined to try even though she had already lost one baby at 24 weeks.

Baby joy: Mike Scott with partner Alison Kirk who gave birth to Gracey May after being on kidney dialysis at Liverpool

Baby joy: Mike Scott with partner Alison Kirk who gave birth to Gracey May after being on kidney dialysis at Liverpool”s Women”s Hospital

She successfully gave birth to a premature Gracie Mae at Liverpool Women”s Hospital three weeks ago.

Ms Kirk from Wallasey, Merseyside, is on the organ transplant list after being diagnosed with a rare condition kidney disorder called cystinosis at the age of three.

She went through six hours of dialysis for six days a week throughout her pregnancy, to give her baby the best possible chance of survival.

Gracie Mae was delivered safely by Caesarean section after Ms Kirk had a massive bleed at 30 weeks and four days.

The baby weighed 3lbs 10oz and is said to be doing well in the hospital”s neonatal care unit.


Cystinosis is a rare inherited condition in which an amino acid called cystine accumulates in the body”s cells. This can cause damage to organs especially the kidneys and eyes.

Ms Kirk has infantile cystinosis with symptoms appearing early in childhood. Symptoms include an excessive thirst, poor appetite and rickets.

These symptoms are caused by damage to two parts of the kidneys” filtering units.

Without urgent treatment, the kidneys eventually fail and the child needs dialysis or a transplant.

The condition can also develop in the early teens and symptoms are often milder.

There is around one case in every 200,000 live births in developed countries.

It two parents carry the defective cystinosis gene their child has a one in four chance of developing the condition.

Ms Kirk and her partner, Michael Scott, 25, said the birth would never have been possible but for the skill and dedication of teams at Liverpool Women”s and the Renal Department of the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals.

“They were all so amazing and so caring. Gracie Mae is only here because of them,” she said.

“I always thought I”d never be a mum. When I got pregnant and I told the doctors, I knew the risks that I could lose another child, but I wanted to go through with it because if I didn”t then I”d never know.”

A successful pregnancy in women treated with renal dialysis is rare. There had only been 90 pregnancies world-wide in 10 years with a success rate of between 50 and 75 per cent.

Alison”s obstetrician praised her determination in deciding to try for a child.

Steve Walkinshaw, consultant in maternity and fetal medicine at Liverpool Women”s Hospital: “I have never come across one before during my experience. She is a very brave woman .”

Liverpool Women”s and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals established a combined obstetric renal clinic some years ago to co-ordinate the care of these and other women with complex kidney problems.

The pregnancy was Ms Kirk”s second, after she became pregnant in 2004 but went into premature labour at 24 weeks.

Her son, Jack, was born in February 2005 but only lived for 12 hours.

Alison praised the staff at Liverpool Women

Alison praised the staff at Liverpool Women”s Hospital who delivered her premature baby safely

Mr Walkinshaw added: “Alison represented a real challenge to the team with her need for very frequent dialysis and the presence of a condition called placenta praevia which carries a risk of massive bleeding during pregnancy.

“The combination of risks undoubtedly put Alison”s life in danger and meant she had to spend a lot of the final weeks of her pregnancy in our hospital.

“The successful outcome here is a testament to the care provided by a number of doctors, nurses and midwives at both hospitals and shows what can be achieved in modern maternal medicine.”