In 2010, a woman named Sarah Gray gave birth to identical twin boys. One of them had birth defects and died after a few days. She and her husband Ross donated the Thomas’s eyes and liver, along with cord blood from Thomas and his twin brother Callum, for scientific research.
A few years later Sarah and Ross Gray learned what use had been made of their child’s remains.
The Schlepens Eye Research Institute in Boston used Ross’s eyes in a study that one day might contribute to a cure for corneal blindness.
Thomas’s retinas were given to the University of Pennsylvania, where they were used in a study that one day might contribute to a cure for retinoblastoma, the most common form of eye cancer in children. The retina tissue is so valuable that some of it is being saved for future research.
Researchers at the Duke University Center for Human Genetics found subtle genetic differences in the cord blood that might help explain anencephaly, the genetic defect that killed Thomas. The liver went to a biotech company named Cytonet, which used it to study the best way to freeze liver tissue.
Sarah Gray, who already had worked in public relations for non-profit organizations, became director of marketing for the American Association of Tissue Banks.
The Grays’ decision to donate their baby’s remains for scientific research shows what it means to be truly pro-life.
Thomas Gray lived six days, but his life has lasting impact by Michael Vitez for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Gray’s Donation, a Radiolab broadcast.