Double uterus, also known as uterus didelphys, is a rare medical condition, affecting only 3 percent of women. Lena Doherty was born with this condition and also has two vaginas. After suffering four miscarriages, she had a "miracle baby."
After 14 years of trying to have a baby with husband Gary, 41, Doherty conceived a healthy baby in one of her wombs. Baby Hugh was delivered by Caesarean section, weighing five pounds, nine ounces.
A double uterus was discovered when Doherty, 35, went to doctors for infertility problems. The condition causes complications with pregnancy, and chances of conception were about 50 percent for Doherty because each womb had one fallopian tube and one ovary.
In a female fetus, the uterus grows out from two small tubes. Normally, the tubes join to create one organ -- the uterus. But sometimes the tubes don't join and each one becomes a separate structure.
A double uterus may have one opening (cervix) into one vagina, or there may be two vaginas. Not all women with a double uterus have two vaginas.
When Doherty was initially diagnosed with the condition, she wondered if she would ever conceive.
"They told me I had a rare condition that meant my womb had split in two while I was in my mother's womb. All I could about was if I would ever have a family."A double uterus contributes to difficulties in pregnancy because each uterus can be smaller than normal.
Gynecologist Dr. Leila Hanna said if Doherty had given birth naturally, it would have been through the vagina attached to the uterus holding the fetus. She added that C-sections are usually recommended to avoid complications.
Baby Hugh's birth came after Doherty suffered 12 months of serious health problems, including a stroke and kidney failure. Husband Gary battled depression.
Lena Doherty said despite these hardships, she never gave up hope.
"For 14 years we tried to have our children and we never gave up hope. He's our miracle. We've been through so much to have him, but I never gave up hope."
She is overjoyed with motherhood.
"Hugh's birth was the most amazing, unbelievable feeling. I still can't believe he's mine, even now."Doherty encourages others who suffer from infertility or have other struggles in life.
"Always have faith and hope. Despite everything I honestly believe that there's always something good at the end of it. It is just amazing -- you forget about all the pain. I love being a mum. We are just enjoying every minute with Hugh."A double uterus is rare, and only one in five million women have the condition. Diagnosis is made through a pap smear, physical exam, or a scan during pregnancy.
[Images: Daily Mail]