pojoslaw/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — A Utah couple is getting ready to welcome two sets of identical twins — a one in 70 million occurrence — after spending years in fertility treatments.
Ashley and Tyson Gardner are having quadruplets, after two implanted embryos split, resulting in two sets of identical twins.
The chances of two identical sets of twins is approximately on in 70 million, according to Dr. Alan Penzias, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. There were 276 sets of quadruplets born in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The news comes after years of fertility treatments for the couple.
Ashley Gardner, 27, was diagnosed with endometriosis in her early twenties. The disorder, which involves tissue growing outside the uterus, meant she and her husband faced years of difficulty conceiving.
Eventually, as a last resort, the couple tried in-vitro fertilization this year. Only two of the nine embryos created were viable for implantation, they said.
“When you finally get there, you feel beaten down and still have a steep hill to climb,” Tyson Gardner told ABC News.
Seven weeks after undergoing IVF, Ashley Gardner went to get an ultrasound to see if the pregnancy was viable. The ultrasound technician initially told them they were having twins. Then took another moment and looked closer at the screen.
“After about a minute of staring at the screen, she said there’s four babies in here,” recalled Tyson Gardner. “Me and Ashley’s faces went pale white.”
A picture of Ashely’s shocked face looking at the ultrasound screen has gone viral on Facebook and other social media sites. Tyson Gardner said both he and his wife came from large families and are ecstatic they will get to have a large family.
“We’ll get our whole entire family here in one shot,” he said.
Though excited, the couple is trying to prepare for any problems they might face when the infants come. Tyson Gardner said they’re already stocking up on diapers and that family and friends have started to put together fundraisers for the expectant parents.
“We try to tackle one day at time. We’re so overwhelmed by what we’ve been blessed with,” said Tyson Gardner.
Dr. David Hackney, a maternal and fetal medicine doctor at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said Ashley Gardner’s quadruplets were extremely rare.
“She won the lottery I suspect on this one,” he said.
Hackney also pointed out that the couple would have to be careful with the pregnancy. Quadruplets are at high risk for pre-term birth and other complications.
“Almost all patients with quads are going to deliver pre-term. Your average patient with quads is going to deliver around 30 to 32 weeks,” Hackney said.
The baby shower is being held next week, when Ashley Gardner is just 18 weeks pregnant. The couple was worried if they waited, the expectant mom might end up on bed rest before she could enjoy the party.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Tyson Gardner, who said the couple’s doctors said she might deliver at 28 weeks. Suddenly they had three months less to prepare.
“The honest answer is I don’t know if you can prepare for this,” said Tyson Gardner. “It’s happening so fast we’re just trying to survive every day. The only thing we really care about at this point is the health of our babies.”
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