In 1986 Brenda Winner discovered when she was five months pregnant that she was carrying an anencephalic (brain-absent) infant. Although given the option of having a late-term, partial-birth abortion, Mrs. Winner and her husband decided that they wished to carry the baby to term so that the organs could be transplanted and save the life of another child. However, although anencephalics are brain-absent, they are not considered brain-dead under the Uniform Determination of Death Act. Ten Perfect Fingers chronicles the Winners struggle to change the current brain-death law and their essential role in establishing the first medical protocol in American history to utilize anencephalics as organ donors.
Mrs. Winner has become a prominent figure in the current debate over the transplantation of organs from anencephalic newborns and has made numerous television and radio appearances to publicize the topic, including the Oprah Winfrey Show. Her story has also been featured on many major news programs such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Nightline, and The McNeil/Lehrer News Hour. She has granted interviews to many well-known news publications and magazines, such as Time, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and Redbook magazine and has appeared as a guest columnist in USA Today. She and her husband, Mike, currently live in Monrovia, California where she works as a personal trainer for a local gym.