A five year review of fatal fetal anomalies in a large Irish tertiary maternity hospital

This study reviewed 179 Irish women who received a diagnosis of fatal fetal anomaly (FFA) in 2012-16. Most common FFA diagnoses were cranial anomalies and aneuploidy. 49 women had an abortion for FFA in other countries. Women diagnosed with FFA require specialised care.

Emily O'Connor, Anna Maria Verling, Noirin Russell, Keelin O'Donoghue
Journal Name
British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (BJOG)
Journal Article
Fatal fetal anomaly
Full Citation
O’Connor E, Verling AM, Russell NE, O’Donoghue K. A five year review of fatal fetal anomalies in alarge Irish tertiary maternity hospital. British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 2018;125(S2):101.
Link to Publication


There is not much data on termination of pregnancy (TOP) for fatal fetal anomaly (FFA) in the Irish population. This study aimed to identify what happens to Irish women who are told their baby has a fatal anomaly during their pregnancy. This study identified women who received this diagnosis from 2012–2016. What happened to each woman was recorded. 39,755 women delivered their baby in CUMH from 2012–2016. 179 women received a diagnosis of FFA during their pregnancy. Most women were 18 weeks at the time of the diagnosis. The two most common causes for FFA were brain abnormalities and chromosomal disorders. Overall, 49 women had an abortion for a fatal anomaly, which averaged 10 women per year. Of the remaining women, 49 women had stillbirths, 31 women had a miscarriage in the second trimester and 47 babies died after they were born. There are significant numbers of women who receive a diagnosis of FFA each year. Some women will seek an abortion in other countries based on this diagnosis, which has high financial and emotional cost. This review will help to guide bereavement standards and raise awareness of this population.

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,