Leona Doherty: After four miscarriages Woman born with two wombs and two vaginas gives birth to a ‘miracle baby’

Mr Doherty (left) Mrs Doherty (right) Baby Hugh (centre)
Mr Doherty (left) Mrs Doherty (right) Baby Hugh (centre)

A woman with two wombs and two vaginas has spoken of her joy at finally giving birth to a ‘miracle’ baby.

Leona Doherty, 35, was born with the incredibly rare medical condition uterus didelphys.

Only three per cent of women are born with such an abnormality – which can cause complications with pregnancy – and she suffered four miscarriages as a result.


Mrs Doherty’s chances of conception were halved because each of her wombs had just one fallopian tube and one ovary – which makes having a baby even more difficult.

But after 14 years of trying to have a child with husband Gary, 41, she conceived a healthy baby in one of her wombs.

Their son Hugh was delivered by Caesarean section on December 9 – weighing just 5lbs 9oz.
His birth came after 12 months of serious health problems, in which Mrs Doherty nearly died and her husband battled depression.

She had a stroke and was rushed to hospital with liver and kidney failure, which doctors later said was due to  undiagnosed Coeliac disease.

Mrs Doherty, of Derry, Northern Ireland, said: ‘Hugh’s birth was the most amazing, unbelievable feeling. I still can’t believe he’s mine, even now.

‘For 14 years we tried to have our own children and we never gave up hope. He’s our miracle. We’ve been through so much to have him, but I never gave up hope.

‘Always have faith and hope. Despite everything I honestly believe that there’s always something good at the end of it.’

‘It is just amazing – you forget about all the pain. I love being a mum. We are just enjoying every minute with Hugh.’

Doctors made the shocking discovery she had two wombs when investigating why Mrs Doherty was having difficulty conceiving.

Only one in 5 million women are said to be affected by the rare condition uterus didelphys.

The condition is normally diagnosed during an examination, a smear test or in a scan during pregnancy.

It occurs because in a female foetus, the uterus starts out as two small tubes.

As the foetus develops, the tubes normally join to create one larger, hollow organ.

However sometimes the tubes don’t join completely and each one develops into a separate hollow organ – so the woman is born with two wombs.

As in Mrs Doherty’s case, sometimes women with the condition will have pregnancy complications because each uterus can be smaller than normal.

Although Mrs Doherty has two vaginas, she has sex normally but becomes pregnant in one uterus.

Had she given birth naturally, it would have been through the vagina attached to that uterus, Dr Leila Hanna, a consultant gynaecologist & obstetrician at BMI The Sloane Hospital, told MailOnline.

However, Caesarean sections are usually recommended in these women, to reduce the risk of complications.

Mr and Mrs Doherty had always wanted children since meeting at work in 2000.

But after a year of trying with no success, the perplexed couple sought medical advice.

Mrs Doherty, who at that stage weighed 19 stone, was told by her doctor to slim down – and she dropped more than 10 stone in two years.

But concerned doctors also examined her uterus – and made the discovery of her double womb, cervix and vagina.

She said: ‘They told me I had a rare condition that meant my womb had split in two while I was in my mother’s womb.

‘As a result, I have two wombs, two cervixes and two vaginas.

‘But I never had any idea. It was devastating. All I could think was would I ever have a family?.’

The couple married in 2003, still hoping they would one day become parents.
Then, in 2006, Mrs Doherty suffered a year ot terrible ill-health.

She suffered a mini-stroke in the May, her first miscarriage in the August and was diagnosed with epilepsy in the October.

Mrs Doherty said: ‘Talking now about that year, it seems a bad year, but we just got through it.
‘My family were amazing, I couldn’t have done it without their support.

‘That first miscarriage happened very early, I was only about six weeks pregnant. We hadn’t even the time to get excited or be happy.

‘But it was reassuring to know that we had fallen pregnant naturally.’

The next few years revolved around ovulation, conception and timings.

‘It constantly took over. I started to feel like a robot. That was how we operated, right up until 2011, when we had our fourth miscarriage,’ she commented.

They had finally reached the top of the IVF waiting list in 2009, but the procedure failed and the couple suffered a second miscarriage.

‘I had some of the drugs that make you ovulate leftover at home, so me being me, I took some more.
‘We fell pregnant straight away but lost the baby at 10 weeks. That was hard. We had told our family and it felt like it was going to happen.’

The couple decided to ‘keep their hopes alive’ and continue with fertility treatment.

The treatment worked and she fell pregnant naturally, but had her third miscarriage in a year later.
A devastated Mrs Doherty said: ‘That was the first time we ever saw the heartbeat.

‘In my previous pregnancies I had miscarried too soon to have a scan but because of my history I was kept under close watch and had one early on.

‘I remember saying, ‘Oh My God, this is it for us’.’

After the third miscarriage Leona was referred to specialist to see whether it would be possible to connect her two wombs, in the hope that it would help her carry a baby to full term.

Professor Regan at St Mary’s Hospital in London refused, however, as there was a high chance that she could have been made infertile by the procedure.

Remarkably Mrs Doherty became pregnant for a fourth time in 2011 – just months after her and her husband began hosting two young children for the summer from the Chernobyl Children’s Project.

She went straight to the nearby Altnagelvin Hospital when she saw the positive pregnancy test and was immediately put on aspirin and an anti-clotting medicine.
But again, it was not to be.

Mr Doherty found the subsequent miscarriage particularly difficult.

He said: ‘My mother had passed away just before we lost the baby and I fell into a depression.
I was off work for three months. It was hard.’

Mrs Doherty decided to put her husband first: ‘I made it my mission to get Gary well again and back to work.

I always encouraged him and finally he was able to go back part-time and build his hours back up.

Read More: Mail Online UK

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *