Sarah Capewell watched her premature baby die after doctors refused to help him - because he was born two days too early for them to try to save him.
Miss Capewell gave birth to a baby son when she was 21 weeks and 5 days into her pregnancy and pleaded with doctors and midwives to admit the newborn to a special care baby unit.
Staff at James Paget Hospital, in Gorleston, Norfolk, told her that if her son Jayden had been born two days later, at 22 weeks, they would have tried to help him.
She is now fighting for a change to guidance drawn up by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in 2006, and strengthened by advice published by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine last year, which says intensive care should never be given to babies below 22 weeks gestation, and rarely to those below 23 weeks.
She has created a website, Justice for Jayden, campaigning for changes, which has already attracted 5,000 members, including scores of women who have suffered a similar plight.
Medical guidance for NHS hospitals says the low chance of survival for babies born below 23 weeks means they should not be given interventions which could cause suffering.
A national study last year found 16 per cent survival at 23 weeks, compared with 47 per cent one week later.
Miss Capewell, 23, from Great Yarmouth had previously suffered five miscarriages and had a complicated pregnancy with bleeding almost throughout.
Last October, at 21 weeks and four days, she went into labour.
Miss Capewell says her increasingly desperate pleas to assist her baby were met with a brusque response from doctors, who said she should consider the labour as a miscarriage, rather than a birth.
After asking doctors to consider his human right to life, she claims she was told: “He hasn’t got a human right, he is a foetus”.
In the early hours of the morning, Jayden was born. To his mother’s astonishment, he stretched out his arms and legs.
Nevertheless, her pleas for a cot to be found for her son in the special care baby unit were rejected.
Two hours later, Miss Capewell’s son died.
Miss Capewell said: “There are thousands of women who have experienced this. The doctors say the babies won’t survive, but how do they know if they aren’t giving them a chance?”
Prof Jane Hawdon, a consultant neonatologist at University College London Hospital, which has had several successful births in the 22nd week, said she supported the national guidelines, but said “extreme sensitivity” was needed to handle such situations.
“There are reams of evidence to support the guidance. The research hasn’t shown any substantial improvements for births under 23 weeks,” she added.
“The feeling among professionals is that we’ve probably got as far as we can, and for every week of prematurity the outlook gets worse.”
James Paget University Hospital Foundation trust said it could not comment on individual cases, but said it followed national guidance.