France investigates babies missing limbs

France has launched a national investigation into the number of babies being born with missing arms or hands – weeks after an initial inquiry closed.

The first investigation began after it emerged more than a dozen children had been born with the condition in clusters in three French regions.

It ended after health authorities failed to identify a common cause.

But now another 11 cases have emerged in the eastern region of Ain, prompting officials to open a fresh inquiry.

The condition is a type of agenesis, where the upper limbs of a foetus fail to form correctly during pregnancy.

It includes entire missing upper limbs, missing forearms and hands, or fingers – but not unrelated medical conditions, such as missing thumbs.

The cases are clustered in the rural Ain area not far from the Swiss border, as well as in Brittany and Loire-Atlantique, two neighbouring regions on the north-west coast.