[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 11:01 GMT
Triplets for woman with two wombs
Image of Hannah and the triplets
Hannah's triplets were born from two eggs. Photo: SWNS
A UK woman with two wombs is believed to be the first in the world with the condition to give birth to triplets.

Hannah Kersey, 23, from Northam in Devon, had identical twins Ruby and Tilly, who were born from one womb, Grace, who was born from the other.

The girls had to stay in hospital for nine weeks after being born seven weeks early by Caesarean, but have now returned home to their parents.

The odds of having triplets from two wombs are about 25 million to one.

The chances of a woman with two wombs having twins or two separate births is estimated to be five million to one.

Against the odds

Only 70 women in the world are known to have been pregnant in two wombs, reports suggest.

The condition, which is actually called uterus didelphys, affects one in 1,000 women in the UK.

In Miss Kersey's case, the babies were conceived from two eggs - one in each womb - which were fertilised at the same time by two different sperm.

There are very few world firsts nowadays, but it may be one
Consultant Dr Simon Grant, who delivered the babies

One egg then divided, producing identical twins, while the other developed into a single baby.

Hannah and her partner Mick Faulkner said they were "over the moon" at how healthy and happy the girls are.

Hannah 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.

"Ruby is very laid back and quiet, happy to sit and watch what is happening around her.

WOMB ABNORMALITIES
Occur when the uterus fails to fuse normally during development
Vary in severity - sometimes the division extends into the vagina
Can cause fertility problems

"Tilly, who was the baby that struggled to survive inside me, is a real fighter, wanting to keep up with her sisters and not be left out."

Dr Simon Grant, a consultant at Southmead Hospital who delivered the babies, said: "There are very few world firsts nowadays, but it may be one."

Mr Ellis Downes, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Chase Farm Hospital in London, said: "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."

Leading expert Mr Peter Bowen-Simpkins added: "For a woman to spontaneously conceive and give birth in this way is a real rarity. They have been extremely fortunate."

Mr Richard Warren of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said most cases occur naturally, but the condition can run in families.

Hannah's mother and sister also have two wombs.

Diagram of double uterus




SEE ALSO
One third of births 'not planned'
17 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh and East
One embryo call for routine IVF
18 Oct 06 |  Health

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific