Woman born with TWO wombs, cervixes and vaginas is pregnant with her ‘little miracle’ after convincing the NHS to give her life-changing surgery
- Nicola Guinness, 26, was told at the age of 15 she would struggle to conceive
- Scans showed her womb was split, later revealed to be caused by a wall of skin
- She would miscarry after a month of conceiving from the age of 18
- Surgeons allegedly refused to remove the wall of skin because it was risky
- But after eventually having the operation, Ms Guinness got pregnant
- She and her partner Anthony Latta, 30, are expecting Reggie in February
A woman born with two wombs, cervixes and vaginas who feared she would never be able to have children has revealed she is finally pregnant.
Nicola Guinness, who has tried to conceive ever since she was 18, was told as a 15-year-old that her unusual anatomy would make it difficult to start a family.
Having suffered six miscarriages in her quest for children, the 26-year-old begged the NHS for surgery to remove the band of tissue that separated her sexual organs in half.
Surgeons allegedly refused her request because it was too risky, leading the beauty therapist to ask her sister if she would consider being her surrogate.
Ms Guinness, from Brentwood, Essex, finally found a specialist at Ipswich Hospital who offered her the life-changing operation to remove the wall of skin in October 2018.
Just eight months later, Ms Guinness and her partner, Anthony Latta, 30, discovered they were expecting. She is now 26 weeks pregnant with their son, Reggie.
Ms Guinness now has one womb but still has a wall separating her cervix and vagina meaning she will have to give birth to Reggie via C-section.
Her deformity, known as septate uterus, is believed to make pregnancy difficult because the baby cannot survive if it attaches to the band of skin.
Nicola Guinness, 26, and her partner, Anthony Latta, 30, have finally fallen pregnant. Ms Guinness had six miscarriages over eight years due to a rare condition
Two years ago, it was revealed a band of tissue down the centre of her womb, cervix, and vagina, was complicating Ms Guinness’ pregnancies. She is pictured in hospital when she had surgery to remove the wall in Ipswich Hospital
Ms Guinness, who was only correctly diagnosed with septate uterus two years ago, said: ‘I started trying to get pregnant as soon as I was 18.
‘I’d always dreamed of becoming a mum so I just wanted to give myself the best chance and start as soon as I could.
‘But every time I got pregnant I would only reach four weeks and then I’d miscarry every time.
‘I was heartbroken and so depressed, I remember I would just sit and cry for hours wondering why this was happening to me.’
She added: ‘Fighting for the operation was the worst time of my life, because I knew that something could be done but doctors weren’t prepared to help me.
‘They just sent me a letter telling me that I wouldn’t be able to have kids – we were devastated. Now, it means everything to me to be so close to becoming a mother.
‘Most mums only have to wait nine months to meet their baby but I’ve been waiting eight years to meet mine.’
From her first period, Ms Guinness realised she was different, noticing that she would still bleed despite using tampons.
This was because she would place the tampon in one vagina, but blood was still escaping from the second uterus and vagina.
She claims she was initially misdiagnosed with a condition called uterus didelphys – which would appear very similar to complete uterus septum on a scan.
Also known as a ‘double uterus’, it occurs when the tubes that create a uterus in a female foetus don’t completely join. Instead, each develop into a separate structure.
A double uterus may have one cervix – the neck of the womb – into one vagina, or there may be two cervixes and vaginas.
Armed with what she thought was the answer, Ms Guinness said: ‘[It] meant that I might have trouble conceiving but that I would be able to carry a baby once I got pregnant.
The couple found out they were expecting a baby, later revealed to be a boy, eight months after Ms Guinness had surgery to remove the wall of skin in her womb
WHAT IS A SEPTATE UTERUS?
Septate uterus is one of the most common abnormalities affecting the womb and is associated with the poorest reproductive outcomes.
Women often experience recurrent pregnancy loss, preterm labour or infertility.
It occurs during foetal development when a membrane called the septum divides the uterus in the middle. The band of tissue may be thick or thin, partial or complete.
It’s not completely clear why women are at more risk of miscarriage if they have this condition. One theory is that the septum cannot provide the proper support needed for a healthy pregnancy as oxygen is not provided in sufficient amounts.
The condition can be treated with surgery, which significantly improves the chance of a baby.
Sometimes a septate uterus is misdiagnosed as a bicornuate uterus – one that is heart shaped – or uterus didelphys. Also known as a ‘double uterus’, it occurs when the tubes that create a uterus in a female foetus don’t completely join, instead, each develop into a separate structure.
The prevalence of septate uterus is not clear, but is thought to be the cause of up to 15 per cent of reproductive problems.
‘They advised me to start trying early.’ But after years of unsuccessful attempts to have a baby, Ms Guinness was sent for more investigative tests in 2017.
She said: ‘I was having test after test, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I got a letter from my doctors saying I actually had complete uterus septum and that I would never be able to carry a baby.’
Known as a septate uterus, the deformity occurs during foetal development before birth. It is thought to affect between three and 15 per cent of women who have reproductive problems.
It usually doesn’t have any symptoms, however Ms Guinness said she was able to feel the band of tissue at the opening of her vagina.
Women with a septate uterus are at increased risk of miscarriage but it is not clear why.
One theory is the band of skin cannot provide proper support or oxygen needed for an embryo to grow, if it attached to it.
Devastated by the news at the age of 24, Ms Guinness began searching for new answers over what could be done to remove the wall of skin.
After discovering that a simple two-hour keyhole surgery could remove that part of the septum, Ms Guinness asked doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital if they would perform the operation.
But she claims they refused as there was a risk the op could make her infertile.
Ms Guinness, who had been trying for a baby with partner of two-and-a-half years Mr Latta, a power linesman, even asked her sister Leanne, 29, to be her surrogate.
But then, her cousin, a midwife from Ipswich, found a doctor at her NHS trust who specialised in the condition.
Ms Guinness claims doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital refused to remove the wall of skin in her womb because there was a risk the op could make her infertile
The surgeon removed the septum, which is pictured centre
Ms Guinness said: ‘I still hadn’t given up, my sister agreed to be my surrogate and I would have gone through with it if my cousin hadn’t managed to find a surgeon to help me.’
Reggie will be born via a C-section in February because Ms Guinness still has a septum separating her cervix and vagina.
She said: ‘Even when I fell pregnant after the operation I was really negative.
‘I started spotting at around four weeks and I was having all the pains that I usually do when I miscarry so I thought I knew what was happening.
‘But when we went to the hospital they did my bloods and told me the baby was still fine and it was just blood from the other half of my cervix and vagina.’
The first time mother has even already splashed out £1,000 on a ‘miracle baby’ bib, a cot, pram and baby clothes for Reggie’s arrival.
She said: ‘Now, I can’t wait to meet him.
‘I never gave up on it and I’m so glad I kept fighting to get the surgery, because if I hadn’t I might never have got this far. He’s our little miracle.’
A Cambridge University Hospitals spokesperson said: ‘We strive to give the very best treatment and guidance to patients, but if someone has a complaint it is important that they contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) as soon as possible, which will investigate it thoroughly and in accordance with our protocols.’
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