Extra Fingers

Sarah has given me permission to post her story about her son’s polydactyly.  I found it such a moving account of the way a bonded mother makes her decisions.  Thank you, Sarah.  Gloria

My son was born with 12 fingers and now at 5.5 years old he still has

them. Here is a picture of one of his hands as a baby if you’re interested!

Baby hands- six fingers

We visited a plastic surgeon when he was 12 months old and we told him that we
couldn’t bring ourselves to make the decision for our son and would rather
wait until he was older. We also weren’t keen on unnecessary surgery and
General Anaesthesia.  He mentioned the main reason parents give him for wanting to remove
extra digits is to avoid bullying. We are not the sort of family to be
swayed by the opinions of bullies, plus our thoughts were that bullies
will always find something else to potentially pick on him for if he
didn’t have extra fingers!

So we went back again when our son, Euan, was 2 years old to entertain the
plastic surgeon and we said we had definitely decided not to do anything
yet. To our surprise the surgeon was very glad we’d come to that choice
and was very supportive!

I have spoken to Euan recently about how he feels about his fingers and he
just said “Fine – I can add up better than my friends because I have two
more fingers to count!”  So far, all his friends of his own age have at
first been very curious, but my son has always been willing to show them
off and talk about them, so they have picked up on that vibe, and after a
few days of talking about how “Euan must be some sort of superhero to have
extra fingers” (seriously!) they have all moved on and viewed it as

I am glad we stuck to our guns despite pressure from friends and family
(and complete strangers!) and we have certainly learnt that adults are far
crueler than children! Euan can decide for himself what he wants to do
and we’ll support his decision whatever that is! I am always surprised
at how emotional I get when I talk about the possibility of removing Euan’s
extra fingers. I used to think it was the thought of the surgery and GA,
but now I know it’s the thought of removing part of him!

Just my experience, but I hope it helps!


Sarah Marsh~~Mummy to Bryony (19/12/2001 emlscs), Jenna (08/02/2003
Hospital VBAC), Twins Rhianna and Euan (14/06/2004 Twin HBAC) and Kitty
(18/04/06 HBAC again!)

4 thoughts on “Extra Fingers

  1. I was friends (well, more like very good acquaintance) with a woman a few years ago who was born with 12 fingers AND 12 toes–which I hear is extremely rare. Her parents had all the extra digits removed when she was a baby, though.

  2. LOL. I was just discussing this and circ. the other day. I would be proud to have a child with extra digits, and would even keep a tail! Love to you strong Mamma. XOXO

  3. What a beautiful inspiring story. I love seeing people think for themselves and accept their uniqueness. What great parents and strong message to give to all who come in contact with little Ean, us included. Thank you Gloria for opening my mind more and more as time goes by. Thank you sarah for the beauty of your spirit !

  4. Just thought I’d share this little bit of information (which you may or may not already know), having six fingers on each hand is actually caused by the dominant gene. So people with only five have the recessive gene even though it is more common.

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