These regular dialysis sessions not only drain a patient’s strength, but cause hormonal changes that affect ovulation. For this reason, the vast majority of women on dialysis cannot conceive. “Only about 1 percent of female patients of child-bearing age will be able to get pregnant,” explained Dr. Burkhard Kreft, Chief Physician of the Nephrology and Dialysis Clinic at HELIOS Hospital Hildesheim. “And even when dialysis patients do manage to get pregnant, about two-thirds of them will lose the child. For Ms. Sinicyn to get pregnant the natural way was very unusual. That made us all the more happy when this sweet, healthy baby was born.”
The challenging situation for dialysis patients who want to have a baby was confirmed by Professor Bernard Canaud, Chief Medical Officer of Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s largest provider of renal care. “Worldwide, only a few hundred cases have been reported of dialysis patients who were able to deliver a live birth despite prematurity, low birth weight and other related health issues,” said Prof. Canaud.
It was not an easy pregnancy for Jaqueline – and was a challenging one for her doctors. Since pregnancies among dialysis patients are so rare, the doctors had little specialist literature outlining other specialists’ experiences. And as taxing as dialysis can be for the patient, it is even more so for the unborn baby. To avoid complications, the frequency of Jaqueline’s treatments had to be doubled at certain times: in order to prevent her urea level from rising to a point that would be potentially hazardous to the fetus, she had to undergo as many as six, four-hour dialysis sessions weekly instead of the usual three.