Rebecca Roberts was determined to get pregnant.
For more than a year she struggled with infertility, undergoing various medical treatments. The good news came through a home pregnancy test, but the surprise and joy doubled five weeks later when she underwent the first ultrasound just at week 12 of gestation.
Something surprising had happened: two little hearts beat in her belly.
Roberts was going to have two babies, but the explanation is not that they were twins. Her pregnancy was diagnosed as superfetation, a rare medical condition for which it is possible for a woman to become pregnant while expecting another baby.
“I was shocked that they told me there were two babies instead of one. Then they told me there was a three-week difference in size between the two and that the doctors couldn’t understand, ”says Roberts, who has documented its experience and growth of their babies through an account on Instagram: @roberts.supertwins.
Noah and Rosalie were born on the same day, September 17, 2020, but were conceived three weeks apart. The 39-year-old woman living in England had to undergo a cesarean section at 33 weeks of pregnancy, because the baby had a problem with the umbilical cord that prevented her from growing properly.
Noah weighed four pounds 10 ounces and Rosalie weighed two pounds seven ounces. Both were in the neonatal intensive care unit due to the premature condition in which they were born. The male came home three weeks later and the female was hospitalized for 96 days. Just right for Christmas dinner they could all be together at home, healthy and without any complications.
“They are a miracle”Roberts wrote on his Instagram. “They are really special and I am so happy to be their mother and to be able to share this incredible journey with them,” added the proud mother who claims to be the 14th woman in the world to have conceived after a superfetch.
“They are very few cases of superfetation registered in the world. They are pregnancies that should not occur because nature prevents it, ”gynecologist and obstetrician Carlos Szajnert Poler explained to Noticias Telemundo.
“The organism has mechanisms so that these pregnancies do not occur, but there have been cases, although they are few,” he added.
The exact number of cases of this type of pregnancy is unknown, however, The Washington Post reported that until 2018 there had been less than 10 cases worldwide, according to a report published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.
What is superfetation?
Dr. Szajnert, who practices medicine in South Florida, pointed out that for a woman to have a superfetation, three things must happen: ovulate while pregnant, an embryo is implanted in a pregnant uterus and that pregnancy develops in the uterus .
“When a woman gets pregnant there is an interruption of ovulation. Due to a hormonal messaging mechanism, the ovaries are no longer ovulating ”, he explained.
“That is one of the natural factors that prevents pregnancy from occurring while pregnant. Another thing that has to happen is that this second pregnancy is implanted in the uterus, which is extremely rare, because when a uterus is already hosting a pregnancy, there is practically no possibility, place, or adequate conditions for another fetus is implanted ”, he added.
For the obstetrician, these cases of superfetation are occurring with a little more frequency due to the significant number of people who undergo fertility treatments.
“Let’s suppose that a woman has infertility problems, but she becomes pregnant spontaneously because she ovulated and became pregnant, and on top of that, they undergo in vitro fertilization. Or they do the in vitro and after a few days she becomes pregnant spontaneously. That is why in the last 20 years some cases have been reported more than ever seen before“Said the doctor.
The reason why these types of pregnancies happen more frequently in women who are having infertility treatment, according to Szajnert, is because the medications used induce ovulation.
“This could happen in a woman who is already pregnant. It can also happen that a woman who has already become pregnant with fertility treatment spontaneously ovulates, which is extremely rare, and becomes pregnant again, “he explained.
“More are being done in vitro around the world. So maybe this explains why these pregnancies are being seen more. Almost all the cases of superfetation that have been reported have been in women who are undergoing fertility treatment as an in vitro one, “reiterated the doctor, who has more than 20 years of experience and has never had a patient with superfetation, but yes He was aware of the case of a known colleague.
“It is so rare for a superfetace to happen, that at first it seemed a lie to us. In fact, I think it would be difficult for me to make a diagnosis of this type in that situation ”, he concluded.
We recommend you
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.