Spinal Cord Injury: Conception, Pregnancy & Parenting
November 21, 2011
Posted by:Raquel Siganporia
Earlier this week I delivered a presentation to my colleagues on a topic which is often overlooked when solicitors are quantifying a claim.
The presentation was entitled ‘Disability: Conception, Pregnancy & Parenting’ and took colleagues through the unique difficulties males with spinal cord injuries face conceiving and how they differ greatly to females with spinal cord injuries. Equipment and techniques to aid conception were explored and the costs involved with such issues.
We then explored female fertility in those with a spinal cord injury. Whilst fertility does not affect females with a spinal cord injury (i.e. it remains the same as pre-accident), women who have spinal cord injuries, or amputees who are female will be affected during pregnancy more so than non-disabled mothers to be.
Whilst most women in their third trimester find carrying out day to day activities difficult, the difference when you have a physical disability is that it can make most day to day activities impossible not just difficult. Transfers, catheterising, bathing, moving around, and the suitability of prosthesis all become affected during pregnancy. However with the right care, support and equipment, pregnancy for those with a physical disability need not be something which is automatically discounted. The crux of the issue is that experts and legal advisors need to be aware of these extra needs and increase the care claim for this period accordingly.
Once the baby arrives, parents with disabilities again face issues which are not insurmountable but require experts and legal experts to be aware of the extra impact being a parent has on the individuals and their care needs as well as the array of equipment available to parents which is often bespoke and costly. Quite often parents’ state that they were independent prior to becoming a parent and had coped with their disability, but once they have a child to consider, some tasks they carried out independently become difficult when carrying or caring for a child.
The whole purpose of bringing a compensation claim is, as far as possible, to put the injured party back in the position they would have been in had it not been for their accident. Creating a family and becoming a parent is something many would have gone on to do and should not be precluded simply because of a physical disability. As more injured Claimants go on to create families, more evidence as to how they are affected will become available and in my opinion, is certainly an area that fellow solicitors and experts can no longer overlook.
Follow Raquel Siganporia on Twitter @SiganporiaRD