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Baby survival rates at 24 weeks rise

An EPICure study has noted improvements in the survival rates for babies born at 24 and 25 weeks gestation.

But, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal, there has been no improvement in survival rates for babies born before 24 weeks - the legal limit for abortion.

The findings back up a large-scale study published last month which showed no improvement in survival rates for births before 24 weeks in the last 10 years.

About 8% more babies survive at 24 weeks, and 17% more live at 25 weeks, compared with 1995.

For babies who reach 24 weeks, 47% survive, while 67% survive at 25 weeks.

Professor David Field and colleagues from the University of Leicester looked at survival rates over a 12-year period for 16 hospitals in the Trent region of the UK.

They examined the survival of all babies born before 26 weeks' gestation who were alive at the onset of labour, for the periods 1994 to 1999 and 2000 to 2005.

They found that the proportion of babies dying in delivery rooms was similar across the two periods, but there was a "significant improvement" in the number surviving to discharge.

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British Medical Journal