Ryan Edwards - the little boy born with 12 fingers and 12 toes

A little boy with a rare condition which gave him 12 fingers and 12 toes has defied doctors to learn to smile, walk and communicate in time for his second birthday.

One-year-old Ryan Edwards was diagnosed with Ellis-van Creveld syndrome – a bone growth disorder - while he was still in his mother’s womb.

His mother Natasha Williams, 26, was told after a 20-week scan that Ryan's body would probably not develop sufficiently to support his organs. She was advised to consider an abortion.
She said: ‘The pregnancy was normal until that point. I felt numb when they told me.

‘When the doctor said I should think about termination, I wasn’t surprised - I had a feeling they would raise that as an option.

‘We only had a weekend to decide what we wanted to do. But I’d already made up my mind that Ryan deserved a chance. If he was going to pass away, I wanted him to go on his own terms.

‘It didn’t seem right to make that decision for him, before he’d had a chance at life.’
Ryan, who was diagnosed at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, was delivered by emergency caesarean section on Christmas Day 2011.

Ellis-van Creveld syndrome is an inherited disorder of bone growth that causes dwarfism.

People with the condition have very short arms and legs and a narrow chest. They usually also have extra fingers and toes.

More than half of babies with the condition are born with a heart defect - this can be life-threatening.

Ellis-van Creveld syndrome occurs in one in 60,000 to 200,000 newborns.

Ryan required round-the-clock ventilation and underwent operations on his heart, and to fit him with tubes to allow him to breathe and digest food, after his birth.

He was in hospital for a year before medical staff allowed Ms Williams, of Devizes, to take him home.

Credit: Emma Innes/Daily Mail