A mother gave birth to three children who were all conceived in the same round of IVF nearly five years apart.
Rachel Hinsbey, of Colchester, Essex, conceived her eldest daughter, Amalie, now five, at the same time as her six-month-old twins Margot and Teddy.
Mrs Hinsbey and her husband Tom, both 35, had embryos from their first IVF cycle frozen while they considered whether they wanted more children down the line.
She then became pregnant again via IVF using the same batch of sperm and eggs.
Rachel Hinsbey gave birth to three children from the same round of IVF four-and-a-half years apart. She is pictured with her husband Tom, five-year-old Amalie and six-month-old twins Margot and Teddy. She became pregnant using the same batch of sperm and eggs
Mr and Mrs Hinsbey started trying for a family as soon as they got married in 2010.
‘After 18 months of trying, nothing had happened so I thought we should go to our GP and get the ball rolling,’ she said.
‘Sadly tests revealed Tom has zero sperm count and he was later found to be a carrier of the cystic fibrosis gene, which can cause infertility.’
Siblings can be born from the same IVF cycle years apart using embryo freezing.
Following IVF, many woman have good-quality embryos left over after one has been implanted into their womb.
Rather than discarding these embryos, they can be frozen for future use.
This can help to preserve a woman’s fertility and is more effective than freezing your eggs.
The standard storage window for frozen embryos is ten years, however, women in ‘exceptional circumstances’ can store them for up to 55 years.
The average cost for storing them for a year is between £170 and £400.
When a woman wants to use her frozen embryos, they can be thawed and transferred into her womb.
This will only occur without fertility drugs if she is ovulating regularly.
If her periods are irregular, she may require medication to trigger a ‘false’ menstruation that prepares her uterus lining for an embryo.
Success rates for IVF using frozen embryos are on the rise and are now comparable to fresh embryo rates.
However, not all frozen embryos survive the process.
But it is as safe as ‘normal’ IVF, with the main risk being having twins or triplets.
If the frozen embryos are never needed, they can be discarded, or donated to another woman, research or training.
Source: Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority
The devastating diagnosis meant it was impossible for the couple to ever conceive naturally.
Mrs Hinsbey – a former medical writer who now makes baby clothes – said: ‘Knowing the cause of our infertility was a like a big relief.
‘It was good to know what was stopping us from conceiving, that there was something that could be done for us and we could put a plan of action in place.’
They were therefore referred for IVF treatment at the NHS-funded Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic in Colchester.
Five embryos were created, one of which was implanted into Mrs Hinsbey’s womb, while the remaining four were frozen.
A short while later Mrs Hinsbey discovered she was pregnant and Amalie was born on March 27, 2014.
The couple later decided to try for another baby using their frozen embryos.
But clinical commissioners in north Essex had stopped NHS funding most IVF cases.
The pair therefore decided to pay for the treatment and discovered it would cost less to use their frozen embryos than having a ‘fresh’ cycle.
After undergoing the unusual IVF approach, Margot and Teddy were born in September last year.
‘The staff were always honest with us about our chances of success,’ Mr Hinsbey – an engineer – said.
‘I’m just so pleased we beat the odds.’
Mrs Hinsbey is looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day for the first time as a mother-of-three.
‘Mother’s day reminds me every year how fortunate I am to be a mummy,’ she said.
‘I have been lucky enough to be Amalie’s mum for five years now, and this year I get to celebrate with Teddy and Margot too.
‘I couldn’t wish for any more.’
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