A Melbourne couple who gave birth to a healthy baby girl despite her being diagnosed with a potentially fatal disability in utero, have urged parents to trust their instincts.

Yvette and Mali Ozkavak were told to abort baby Ella during their pregnancy last year.

In a story for Seven News, the couple (with 10-month-old Ella playing nearby) shared about their ordeal for the first time, after a traumatic pregnancy experience.

Ella was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, or Edwards syndrome, in utero. Two tests came back positive for chromosomal abnormalities and doctors advised that the couple should terminate the pregnancy. Trisomy 18 causes severe developmental delays and can be life-threatening, even before birth. Sadly, only 10 per cent of babies with Trisomy 18 live to their first birthday.

Doctors pressured Yvette to have an abortion but the couple were resolute: they would have this baby no matter what.

“Here you are at 45, finally pregnant naturally, and everything collapses,” Yvette told Seven News.

“Even if she’s sick, if she only has one hour, we wanted her to have love for that one hour.”

Yvette and Mali were “petrified” when Ella was born, but minutes later they were told that their baby girl was completely healthy, that the original diagnosis of Trisomy 18 was incorrect.

They were thrilled and shocked. Those feelings turned to anger at the incorrect diagnosis, and how, had they not been resolute in their decision not to terminate, it could have cost Ella’s life. Yvette said it had taken her until now to sort through those feelings and speak up about what happened.

Her advice to parents facing a diagnosis like theirs?

“Question it, research it, believe in yourself.”

Photo source: Seven News

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Nikki's Story

Nikki was 17 and hadn't been living in Australia for long when she discovered she was pregnant. She chose Nahla.

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