Meet the adorable 'designer' twins created by doctors so their mother wouldn't miscarryJulia and husband Stuart both carried abnormal chromosomes causing her to miscarry. After four failed IVF attempts doctors were finally able to implant two healthy embryos'Designer twins' Holly and Aaron were born prematurely last year but are now happy and healthy
16:26 GMT, 7 July 2012
These are the ‘designer’ twins – genetically engineered by doctors so their mother could give birth without miscarrying.
Doctors discovered that both Julia Eynon and her husband Stuart had abnormal chromosomes which were being passed to their unborn babies, causing them to be miscarried.
She had tragically lost two sets of twins before doctors made the heartbreaking discovery.
Julia Enyon with 'designer' twins Aaron and Holly who were born last year thanks to a new technique which eliminates faulty chromosomes
She underwent a special ‘designer’ technique where doctors selected embryos which were free from the abnormal chromosomes that were causing her to miscarry.
It meant that her twins Holly and Aaron were able to be born safely in March last year.
Mrs Eynon, 37, said: ‘The doctors had told me it was unlikely that I could ever give birth to a baby alive, it was heartbreaking.
‘We both had faulty chromosomes that meant that when I fell pregnant, the baby would either miscarry or die at full term, before I could give birth.
‘I thought I would never be a mum –
but now my twins have been born safely due to this wonderful technique.
It seems like a miracle.
The couple, who live in Bridgend, South Wales, started trying for a family after they got married in 2005.
After two miscarriages and another two failed IVF attempts the couple tried Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis where doctors selected embryos which were free from the abnormal chromosomes that were causing her to miscarry
Mrs Eynon said: ‘I thought it would happen straight away. I came off the pill and expected to fall pregnant within a few months.
‘But nothing happened, so I went to see my GP who told me to be patient and that it can take a while and not to worry.
But by Christmas the following year Mrs Eynon still hadn’t fallen pregnant so she went for a scan and doctors discovered she had polycystic ovaries.
She was put on the fertility drug Clomid for a further 12 months, but still nothing happened, so the couple were referred for IVF treatment.
Julia pictured with husband Stuart holding Holly and Aaron at the hospital in March 2011
They underwent their first cycle at IVF Wales in Cardiff in January 2008 and it was a success.
Doctors put two embryos back into her womb, but then at six weeks she miscarried both the twins.
Mrs Eynon, a health visitor, said: ‘We were absolutely devastated. We had thought that after the years of trying, we were finally going to be parents. When they told me I was pregnant I was overjoyed.
‘So to lose both the babies at six weeks was heartbreaking.’
The couple underwent a second IVF attempt in October 2008, but that failed.
A third attempt in March 2009 proved a success and Mrs Eynon once more fell pregnant with twins.
She said: ‘I was worried in case anything went wrong, but we were so excited, and were convinced that we couldn’t be as unlucky this time.’
But again at six weeks she miscarried and lost both babies. Devastated, she asked the doctors to carry out tests to see why she had lost both sets of twins.
The tests showed that both Mrs Eynon and her husband Stuart, 39, a supplies coordinator for St Johns ambulance, were carriers of abnormal chromosomes – one which caused early miscarriage, and the other which causes the baby to die at full term.
Mrs Eynon said: ‘We were both devastated when we were told the news. It meant it was unlikely that I would ever be able to give birth to a baby that was still alive. It was heartbreaking to think that it had caused me to lose both sets of twins.’
Despite being born prematurely at 27 weeks both the twins are happy and healthy and 'coming on in leaps and bounds'
Then the doctors told the couple about a technique called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) – a technique that allows doctors to check for genetic disorders in an embryo so that an unaffected embryo can be implanted into the mother’s womb.
It means that they could test for the two abnormal chromosomes in the embryos and make sure only ones unaffected would be used.
Mrs Eynon said: ‘We had never heard of the technique before, but it meant that we could have a baby without these abnormalities, so we decided to go ahead. It was our only chance at being parents.’
The couple underwent their fourth cycle of IVF in June 2010 and this time all the embryos were tested, but they were all found to have the genetic fault.
In September 2010 they had a fifth attempt and this time seven of the 15 embryos were found to be free of the defective chromosomes. Two were put back into Mrs Eynon’s womb and were successful.
She said: ‘I was so thrilled when I found out I was pregnant, and now this time I knew that the babies had a much better chance of developing normally.’
Her pregnancy went smoothly until 27 weeks when she went into premature labour. She was rushed into the Singleton Hospital in Swansea and the couple were terrified that they were going to lose the twins.
Mrs Eynon said: ‘After everything we had been through to have the twins, we really thought that they were going to die. It was devastating.’
Doctors gave her steroid injections to develop the babies lungs whilst they were still in the womb and Holly was born first weighing just 2Ib, followed by Aaron at 2Ib4.
Mrs Eynon said: ‘They were so fragile and tiny. Holly had a perforated bowel and Aaron had a brain haemorrhage.
‘But they were both real little fighters and hung on. We just had to pray that after everything they had been through they would be alright.’
The twins were finally allowed home after three months and are now coming on in leaps and bounds.
Mrs Eynon added: ‘They are doing so well now. They both have great appetites and they are getting much stronger.
‘We feel so lucky to have them, and we are just so grateful for the ‘designer’ technique that allowed them to be born.’