Tuesday, 4 January, 2011
One of three triplets conceived on the same day through IVF was born last month in Britain — 11 years after her twin sisters who say she was waiting "in the freezer" to be born.The girls, daughters of Lisa and Adrian Shepherd, all come from the same round of fertility treatment and it is believed there is no other known case where such an age gap exists.
The British couple began treatment in 1998 after Ms Shepherd was diagnosed with medical conditions that made her chances of her becoming pregnant naturally slim. During the treatment at the Midland Fertility Clinic near Birmingham, doctors successfully fertilised 14 eggs with Mr Shepherd’s sperm. Two embryos were implanted with the remaining 12 placed into freezer storage.
Soon afterwards scans showed Ms Shepherd was expecting twins. The girls, Megan and Bethany, arrived six weeks early and weighed less than 8lbs between them but made a great recovery.
When the girls were nine, the couple started to consider another baby. "We had been so busy raising the twins that it wasn’t until then that we stopped to think about having another one," Ms Shepherd said.
"We asked the girls what they thought about having another addition to the family and they really wanted it."
So last year, they returned to the clinic for another cycle of IVF, using the embryos stored 10 years previously. "We didn’t know if it would work… It was one last chance, and if it was meant to be, then it would happen."
And so it was meant to be with Ryleigh was born last month, weighing 7lb 10oz.
"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," Ms Shepherd said.
"She’s a really happy baby and has got a really good appetite — it’s as though she’s making up for lost time."