Woman With Two Wombs Makes History

A 23-year-old British woman is thought to have made medical history by giving birth to three babies in two wombs. In September this year, Hannah Kersey, from Northam in Devon, had twins who were conceived in one womb, and a third daughter who grew in another.

Dr Ellis Downes, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Chase Farm hospital in London, said: “This is so rare you cannot put odds on it. I have never heard of this happening anywhere before. It is quite amazing. Women with two wombs have conceived a baby in each womb before, but never twins in one and a singleton in the other.”

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The apparently unprecedented births are the result of a rare condition known as uterus didelphys, which affects one in 1,000 women in the UK and means her uterus failed to fuse during development. Women with the condition develop two separate normal sized wombs.

The babies were conceived from two eggs produced during ovulation – one in each womb – which were fertilised at the same time by two different sperm. One egg then split and produced identical twins while the other developed into a single baby.

Ms Kersey discovered that she had uterus didelphys when she gave birth to a son nearly two years ago.

After she fell pregnant again, her 12-week week scan showed that she was expecting triplets. Doctors warned her and her partner, Mick Faulkner, that it would be very difficult to carry the babies to full term. They told the couple they could terminate all three babies, terminate the twins and focus on the remaining foetus, or keep all three and hope for the best. “It was a terrible position to be in, but I immediately knew I could not put an end to the life of any of my unborn children, so we elected to carry all three,” said Ms Kersey.

Three months ago – and seven weeks early – she gave birth to three girls by emergency caesarean section. The twins, Ruby and Tilly, weighed 2.6lb and 2lb respectively, while Gracie weighed 2.13lb.

The combined birth weight of the triplets was only slightly greater than that of an average baby. Because of their size, they were kept in Southmead hospital, Bristol, for three weeks before being moved to North Devon district hospital in Barnstaple, where they remained for another six weeks. They are now at home with their parents and brother.

The odds against a woman with two wombs having twins, or two single births, are 5 million to one, and experts believe that the odds of triplets in such a case are at least that figure squared. In the past 100 years, only 70 women are known to have been pregnant in two wombs.

Ms Kersey, however, is not overly concerned by her place in medical history.

“We are just over the moon at how healthy and happy the girls are,” she said. “They are three lovely and incredible children, all with very different personalities.

“Gracie seems to be the ringleader, maybe because she grew up in her own womb. She is very determined and independent, always wanting her food before the others and to do things first. Ruby is very laid-back and quiet, happy to sit and watch what is happening around her. But Tilly, who was the baby that struggled to survive, is a real fighter, wanting to keep up with her sisters and not be left out.”