May 30 2013 ( – It was an inauspicious beginning for the infant who has been dubbed “No. 59” – after the number of his hospital incubator – and China’s “sewer baby”: born into a toilet before being rescued by firefighters after spending several hours wedged in a narrow, L-shaped section of sewage pipe.

But now things are looking up for the newborn. While originally admitted to the hospital in critical condition, the baby was released to his grandparents today in good health.


Police have also reportedly tracked down the baby’s father, who has requested a paternity test, and says he will discuss caring for the child if he is indeed the father. 

Meanwhile, police say that there will be no charges against the baby’s 22-year-old single mother, who claims the incident was an “accident.” She says that she gave birth unexpectedly while sitting on the toilet, and attempted to grab the baby before it slipped into the pipe.  

Police say that it was the mother who originally raised the alarm that the baby was stuck by alerting her landlord. She was reportedly present throughout the rescue, but did not identify herself as the mother until police confronted her. 

For the moment, police appear to believe her story.

However, there remain troubling questions, not least of which is the mother’s delayed decision to identify herself. As well, reports indicate that when the baby was rescued he was still attached to the placenta. Under normal circumstances the placenta does not emerge from the mother for at least several minutes, and up to half an hour after birth. 

“Our investigations showed it was an accident,” a local police officer told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday. 

Police also said the mother “deeply regrets what she did.” 

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The mother says she conceived the child during a one-night stand with a man who wanted nothing to do with the child. She says she was unable to afford an abortion.

The baby was originally admitted to the hospital with cuts and abrasions, including a suspected fracture in the top of his skull, after his several-hour ordeal in the sewage pipe in the city of Jinhua, in the Chinese province of Zhajiang. 

His story inspired an outpouring of both sympathy and outrage globally. A nurse told the Daily Mail that numerous individuals stepped forward to donate diapers, formula, and other necessities to help care for the child. Some offered to adopt the child.  

Video of the dramatic rescue shows firefighters sawing and removing the section of pipe in which the baby was wedged. This section of pipe was then sent to the nearby hospital, where  workers removed the pipe piece by piece. 

Cases of newborn infants being abandoned are not unheard of in China. In fact, Jinhua is the same city where one Chinese woman rescued 30 babies who were abandoned in the trash. Despite her meager living recycling trash, Lou Xiaoying brought home and cared for all the abandoned infants she came across.   

Under China’s one-child policy parents must obtain a pregnancy permit or face severe penalties, and it is estimated that some 35,000 abortions are committed per day in the country – many of them forced. Investigations have revealed that human rights abuses under the policy are rampant, with family planning police often dealing with “illegal pregnancies” through forced abortions and infanticide.  

Last year, outrage shook the Internet when it was revealed a premature baby girl in Anshan city, Liaoning province, had been thrown in the trash with umbilical cord still attached, in a plastic bag with her throat cut. Doctors said she would have died of suffocation within minutes, and had the cut been any deeper, it would certainly have taken the baby girl’s life.


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