The High Court has ruled that doctors can give a blood transfusion to severely anaemic twin babies after they are born later this week, against the wishes of their parents.

The parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and refused to give their consent for a transfusion.

Doctors believe the babies are at risk of death or serious life-long disability and need to be delivered early. They say the babies will need a blood transfusion in the minutes and weeks after their birth.

In a letter to Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, the mother, who is 32 weeks pregnant, said she and her husband loved their children with all their hearts and do not want to cause them harm.

However, she said they could not consent to the transfusion because of their long held scriptural beliefs.

She said she understood the seriousness of the situation and the fact that doctors feared there may be no choice.

The mother said they would not interfere with the decision of the court, but asked for bloodless alternatives to be tried first.

Ms Justice Laffoy ruled that the doctors could give the transfusion if medically necessary and where no other alternative methods were available.

The court heard the situation arose because the mother refused an injection of a blood product, Anti-D, after the birth of her first child a number of years ago.

Anti-D is given where a mother with the Rhesus D negative blood group gives birth to a Rhesus D positive child.

If Anti-D is not given, the mother will develop antibodies against Rhesus D positive blood, which could affect future pregnancies.

In this case the twins are both Rhesus D positive and the mother's antibodies attacked their red blood cells.

The court also heard the normal management of foetal anaemia is to perform a blood transfusion in the womb, but the parents did not consent to this treatment.

Meanwhile, the High Court judgment on the legal action between the Coombe Hospital and Ms K will be given tomorrow morning.

In September 2006, the hospital was granted a court order allowing it to give Ms K a number of blood transfusions following the birth of her baby boy.

The hospital claims it was entitled to do this but Ms K says the transfusions constituted an assault on her person.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, who also heard the case involving the HSE and twin babies with severe anaemia today, will give her judgment in the morning.