Imagine having two sets of twins born within two weeks of each other?
That’s exactly what mothers and same-sex couple Laura Cavin and Sheri Green
experienced as they each conceived twins from the same set of eggs and
anonymous donor sperm through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
All four children – Brianna, Derrick, Anthony and Cason – were
conceived on the same day and technically are quadruplets, even though the two
sets of children were born two weeks apart.
The road to parenthood for these two “super moms” has been filled with
both overwhelming joy and, unfortunately, indescribable sorrow. Both members of
this loving couple always knew they wanted to become mothers. But like other
lesbian couples, the native Floridians also understood they would need medical
intervention to achieve this dream.
They contacted Dr. Craig Sweet, a reproductive endocrinologist and
medical director of Specialists in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery in Fort
Myers, Florida. At the time, Sheri was almost 35 while Laura was 24. They decided Sheri, who wanted biological
children, would provide her eggs and Laura, who wanted to experience pregnancy,
would carry the child. Though Laura conceived identical twins from the transfer
of a single embryo that split, they lost the boys, named Aiden and Branden, at
28 weeks gestation because of the extremely rare condition of twin-to-twin
transfusion, where one twin was not getting enough blood while the other was
getting too much.
Despite the pain of their tremendous loss, Laura and Sheri were
determined not to give up. They went back to Dr. Sweet to try another time.
Again, Sheri produced an abundance of eggs and high quality embryos. After much
discussion and trepidation, a decision was made to transfer two embryos into each
woman. Dr. Sweet commented, “The chance that all four transferred embryos would
implant and grow was less than 2%, so we were all amazed when the improbable
The first five months of both pregnancies
went well, but at 31 weeks, Laura delivered Briana and Derek on May 9 after her
placenta partially ruptured. Meanwhile, Sheri started going into labor and had Anthony
and Cason on May 23, 2011.
As Mother’s Day and the babies’ birthdays
approach, Laura and Sheri can look back at all they have endured and smile.
Says Sheri, “We have become better mothers because we know what it is like to
lose children. We would have given anything to hear Aidan and Brendan scream,
so listening to four babies cry at once does not bother us. But our journey
also took us to our four beautiful babies. Reproductive
medicine made our dreams possible.”
Sheri and Laura consider themselves
mothers of four children, not of two each. From a gestational perspective, all
four children were conceived on the same day. In Florida, however, they only
are legally considered the mothers of the children they bore, so they are
working with a family lawyer for each mother to adopt the other two. Said Dr.
Sweet: “They are a family connected
through genetics, reproductive medicine and the love these two women share with
each other – an amazing modern family.”
AMAZING KEY FACTS
- The splitting of a single embryo into identical twins
- The very sad situation of a twin-to-twin transfusion with a valiant
attempt to save the twins through intra-uterine surgery
- Laura underwent a C/Section for nonviable twins, Aiden and Branden
- Sheri’s eggs were used when Laura’s were much younger, yet Sheri did
fantastic with numerous healthy embryos present in both cycles
- All four embryos implanted, two in Laura and two in Sheri with chances
estimated at less than 2%
- The “quadruplets” were delivered as two sets of twins, two weeks apart
- They have eight cryopreserved embryos and may not be done building
UPDATE: May 15, 2012
This story has been covered by several major news organizations, both in the U.S. and the U.K. Click on any of the links to the right to read more!