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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Woman who is turning into a human statue reveals her race against time to have a baby via surrogate as rare condition causes her muscles turn to BONE

  • Rachel Winnard, 30, has Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva
  • Rare and debilitating condition where muscle is turned into bone  
  • The 30-year-old longs for a baby with her husband of four years, Paul 

A woman who is turning into a human statue due to faulty gene in her body longs to have a baby even though it could exacerbate her condition.

Rachel Winnard, 30, from Rochdale, has a rare and debilitating condition called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) that causes muscle to turn into bone.

The condition affects one in two million people and the slightest injury can cause her body to repair itself by growing bone where muscles and other tissues should be.

As a result, she is unable to deliver a baby naturally and a c-section isn't an option as surgery also makes the condition worse.

But after researching and speaking with medical experts, she and her husband, Paul, 35, are hopeful they can now have the family they dream of via a surrogate.

She said: 'I know the complications and it is quite dangerous so we are talking about surrogacy. I am excited to do it, it is easier than I thought it would be.'

Thanks to modern fertility treatments, doctors would be able to select an egg from Rachel that doesn't carry the faulty genetic gene to rule out the possibility of her passing FOP on to a child.

They could then create an embryo with Paul's sperm and implant this in a surrogate so the couple can have a child of their own without risking Rachel's health further.

Paul said of their hopes: 'In the future we would love to be able to have a couple of children - ideally a boy and a girl - and watch them grow up and for Rachel and I to live happily ever after as I love her.'

Rachel added: 'We always wanted a child more than getting married.'

Rachel reveals the extent of her debilitating condition in the latest episode of TLC show Body Bizarre.

Explaining her lack of mobility, Rachel said: 'I can't move my neck, I have to turn my whole body. My back is straight that doesn't bend, my hips lock and my feet are frozen on the balls of my feet so I have to wear heels, I can't physically put my feet flat to the floor or I would fall over.'

Dr Alex Bullock, a research scientist further elaborates on the medical condition: 'Any damage to existing tissue like a bruising causes it to breakdown and stem cells to invade the area.

'These cells develop into bone where we used to have muscle.'

He said that the disease will progress throughout Rachel's life and there is currently no medical treatment to stop it.

Despite this, Rachel is keen to start a family with Paul, who she married in 2010.

He said her condition has never held them back before. 'When she told me I was a little shocked - muscles turning to bone? I had never heard of it. But we fell in love straight away,' he said.

Rachel's mother Julie reveals how it took years for her daughter's condition to be diagnosed as it was so uncommon.

They first noticed signs when she was 18 months and she had lumps in her neck but as the condition is so rare, Rachel was 12 by the time FOP was suspected.

Chemotherapy caused the lumps in her neck to disappear but then, at the age of nine, an accident on the garden swing caused another lump to appear on her back and Rachel endured more chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

She began to have trouble moving easily and her arm joins would often lock.

It was only years later, when Julie watched a show about FOP, that she recognised the symptoms in daughter.


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