Superfoetation: Woman falls pregnant TWICE in a fortnight after scan reveals two foetuses... who aren't twins
26th September 2009
When mother-to-be Julia Grovenburg went for a routine ultrasound she thought she knew what to expect.
But her jaw almost hit the floor when doctors told her she had fallen pregnant again.
The 31-year-old American was told that next to her growing baby girl was a tiny male foetus, conceived just days afterwards.
This incredibly rare biological event is known as superfoetation – meaning two separate instances of fertilisation during the same cycle.
There are just a handful of cases ever recorded.
Mrs Grovenburg and husband Todd, 38, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, are expecting their first baby, a girl they have already called Jillian, on December 24.
Next up is a boy, Hudson, due on January 10.
‘We feel very blessed, but the truth is that I gagged. I started getting sick, that’s not a joke,’ Mrs Grovenburg told the New York Daily News of the moment she found out she was pregnant again.
She added that her ultrasound technician was in total shock and her husband ‘was laughing’.
Doctors have warned, however, that both babies will probably be delivered together some time in early December in which case Hudson is likely to be born first because of his position.
‘We tried for three years to have kids, and nothing ever happened,’ Mrs Grovenburg said. ‘We even refused to do in-vitro or fertility drugs because we didn’t want multiples. I guess God is having the last laugh.’
Dr Karen Boyle of the Greater Baltimore Medical Centre, told ABC News that superfoetation was extremely rare.
‘There is no prevalence or incidence in the literature. I could only find about 10 reported cases,’ she said.
The creatures which most commonly undergo superfoetation are mice.
Horses, sheep and kangaroos have also been subject to the condition.