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Twin births from Florida mom's double uterus: Rare but not unique

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September 21, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
  • Thought to be a 1-in-5-million chance, two babies from one woman's two uteruses were delivered Sept. 15 at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Fla. Andreea Barbosa, 24, of Clearwater, and husband, Miguel Barbosa, welcomed fraternal twins Nathan and Natalie Barbosa.
Thought to be a 1-in-5-million chance, two babies from one woman's… (BayCare Health System /…)

A Florida woman with a double uterus managed a 1-in-5-million feat, according to her doctor: She gave birth to twins -- one from each uterus.

Andreea Barbosa, 24, gave birth to Nathan and Natalie last week. She and her husband conceived the twins without reproductive medicine or extra effort, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Roughly one in 2,000 women has what's called uterus didelphys, said Barbosa's obstetrician, Dr. Patricia St. John. It happens when the two small tubes that join to form the uterus end up growing into separate structures, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Such a birth as Barbosa experienced had a 1-in-5-million chance of occurring, St. John said.

"A woman would have to release two eggs at once and both would have to be fertilized and implanted successfully in separate uteruses. Then both had to develop into viable pregnancies," she said.  

Barbosa had previously given birth to a daughter, now age 2, from one uterus by cesarean section, and the second uterus had seemed too small to host a second pregnancy.

Despite the odds, this isn't the first time such an extraordinary birth has taken place. A 2010 study described the birth of triplets from a woman with a double uterus -- a rare event, according to the authors, since at least two out of three fetuses often die. And MSNBC pointed to a case last year in which a Utah woman became pregnant with two babies conceived at different times.

Since each uterus is smaller, the risk of pregnancy complications may be higher -- but for the most part, having a double uterus isn't going to cause much extra trouble, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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