February 3, 2023

My Triplets Were Born 11 Years Apart

My Triplets Were Born 11 Years Apart

Though you might usually associate triplets with being born simultaneously, this triplet is living proof that that is not always the case. Megan and Bethany were born in August 1998, but their younger sister Ryleigh was born in 2009, and yet, they are still biological triplets. It was Fʀᴏᴢᴇɴ for more than 11 years.

‘When Ryleigh arrived she looked like both the girls did when they were born 11 years before,’ said their mother Lisa, 37. ‘It was uncanny.

Mrs Shepherd and husband Adrian, 45, married in 1994. They were keen to start a family but she had been ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴇɴᴅᴏᴍᴇᴛʀɪᴏsɪs ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴏʟʏᴄʏsᴛɪᴄ ᴏᴠᴀʀɪᴇs so they knew their chances of her becoming pregnant naturally were slim. ‘I was given ᴅʀᴜɢ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs to help me conceive, but nothing worked,’ she said at the family home in Walsall.” she said

In September 1998, the couple underwent ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ at Midland Fertility Clinic. Doctors collected 24 eggs, 14 of which were successfully fertilised with Mr Shepherd’s sperm. Two ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏs were implanted and the remaining 12 placed into freezer storage. They didn’t hope in that time.

‘I did a pregnancy test after a week which was ɴᴇɢᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ. That was so disappointing. But a week later when the clinic did another test, it was ᴘᴏsɪᴛɪᴠᴇ.’

Scans showed Mrs Shepherd was expecting twins. The pregnancy went smoothly and the twins were born by ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ at Walsall Manor Hospital, Megan weighing 4lb 4oz and Bethany 3lb 3oz and went home just three days later.

When the girls were nine, the couple started to consider another baby. In December 2009, the couple returned to Midland Fertility Clinic for another cycle of IVF, using the ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏs stored ten years previously and the third baby arrived,weighing a healthy 7lb 10oz. Mrs Shepherd added: ‘The girls are thrilled to have a sister – and they know that she was conceived at the same time that they were, but has been in the freezer.

ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ Fʀᴇᴇᴢɪɴɢ is a procedure that allows people to store ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏs for later use. A person can also freeze eggs, which are not fertilized. An ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ forms after fertilization and after the cells start to divide. The first successful pregnancy resulting from Fʀᴇᴇᴢɪɴɢ a healthy ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ took place in the 1980s. Since then, many people have Fʀᴏᴢᴇɴ ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏs and used them later. A person may decide to store an ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ if they hope to become pregnant in the future, to donate to others, for medical ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜ, or for training purposes.

How long can ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏs stay Fʀᴏᴢᴇɴ: In theory, a correctly Fʀᴏᴢᴇɴ ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ can remain viable for any length of time. The ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏs remain in sealed containers at temperatures of -321ºF. At this temperature, almost no biological processes, such as aging, can occur.

Emma Wren Gibson, Fʀᴏᴢᴇɴ as an ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ in 1992, was born a few days after Thanksgiving in 2017, more than 25 years later. It’s the longest an ᴇᴍʙʀʏᴏ is known to have been Fʀᴏᴢᴇɴ before being born as baby.


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