Double the fun

UK woman carries twins in separate wombs in ‘1 in 50 million’ case

28-year-old Essex resident already has two young children; condition discovered during 12-week scan

An ultrasound examination for a pregnant woman in Tel Aviv, on November 3, 2009. (Photo: Chen Leopold / Flash 90)
An ultrasound examination for a pregnant woman in Tel Aviv, on November 3, 2009. (Photo: Chen Leopold / Flash 90)

A woman in the United Kingdom is carrying two babies — twins — in separate wombs in what doctors have termed a “one in 50 million” case.

The woman, 28-year-old Kelly Fairhurst from Braintree, Essex in southeast England, said doctors discovered the condition, called uterus didelphys, when she went in for her 12-week scan. Uterus didelphys is considered a uterine malformation where two uteri appear as a paired organ. Some women also have two cervixes as a result and, in some cases, two vaginas.

The condition affects about 1 in 2,000 women worldwide, according to a 2009 Scientific American interview with a US obstetrician/gynecologist (ob–gyn) who also said that about “one in 25,000 women with uterus didelphys gets pregnant with twins, one to each uterus. [That means the likelihood of any given woman growing two babies in two separate wombs is about one in 50 million.]”

Fairhurst already has two children, ages three and four, and said the news of her condition surprised her, according to a report in the Guardian.

“With my second baby, they said that I might have a bicornuate uterus, which means it’s not fully formed. So when I went for this scan, I was really surprised to learn that I have two of them,” she was quoted as saying.

“I just thought, ‘God, that’s a shock.’ It makes you feel incredibly grateful that this has happened to you and you get to have two amazing babies,” added Fairhurst.

“The twins could be identical. The condition itself is quite rare, but they went on to tell me that it was a one in a 50 million chance for me to conceive twins in each womb,” she told the Sun.

Fairhurst said doctors told her she might have two separate labors as a result, and their plan is to deliver the babies by cesarean section.

Last year, a 20-year-old woman in Bangladesh gave birth to three babies about a month apart after doctors discovered a second uterus when she went in to hospital complaining of stomach pains some four weeks after her first delivery of a baby girl. The woman gave birth to twins in an emergency C-section the second time around.

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