What is anencephaly? Baby born with part of brain and skull missing. [Representational Image]Creative Commons

A two-month-old baby was reportedly born with part of her brain and skull missing. Little Ah Neath, born in a remote village in eastern Cambodia, is now struggling to survive.

Srey and Heang -- the parents of the baby girl-- are frantically trying to get all funds together and even sold their home to pay for her medical care. Their plight hit the headline after the couple, in their desperation, started crowdfunding to take Ah Neath to a hospital in the capital city Phnom Penh where they hope the doctors will be able to help.

"I knew there was something very wrong with my baby when she was born. I have cried for days and asked people to donate money," Srey, mother of the child, was quoted as saying by The Sun. "We are poor and have sold our home and land to try to save my daughter. She is healthy, but her head does not have all of the skulls."

Doctors believe that the baby has anencephaly -- a rare condition that affects around three in every 10,000 pregnancies in the United States. The actual number is not known because, in most of the cases, it results in miscarriages. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 4,859 newborns in the United States has this condition.

What is anencephaly?

Anencephaly is a rare condition affecting the formation of the brain and the skull bones during embryonic development. The bony covering at the back of the head is missing in this case, the bones around the front and sides of the head can also missing. In some cases, the brain lacks part or the entire cerebrum – area that is responsible for thinking, hearing, seeing and touching.


The most common symptoms of anencephaly may include an absence of bony covering over the back of the head, an absence of front and sides of the head, folding of ears, cleft palate, and congenital heart defects.

Causes of anencephaly

The reason behind anencephaly among most infants is unknown. However, some babies have it due to change in genes or chromosomes or other factors, such as what the mother eats or drinks, things she comes in contact with while being pregnant and medicines she uses during pregnancy, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.