London - A woman who was told she would probably never get pregnant even with IVF has had four babies in less than a year – and all were conceived naturally.
Charlotte Parker had almost given up hope after doctors said her egg count was so low that the fertility treatment would not work without an egg donor.
But as the 32-year-old and her husband Billy were starting to look for donors, they were amazed to discover she was pregnant. She gave birth to son Lewis on September 6 last year.
She then defied the odds and surprised experts by becoming pregnant again just weeks later – and this time it was triplets.
Adam, Jamie and Ella were born prematurely on August 4 and had to be cared for in a neonatal department for over a month. But they are doing well and are now back at home. Parker said: "Having four babies is crazy. There’s lots of feeds with 26 bottles in 24 hours and then changing... we get through around 30 nappies every day.
"It certainly makes the day go quickly. We just get on with it but when we sit down and think about it, you can’t help but go 'oh my, four babies'."
She added: "It’s quite odd now to think back to when we thought having children wouldn’t be possible."
The couple, who live in Crawley, West Sussex, were distraught when a consultant told them IVF would not work. The treatment involves doctors extracting eggs and fertilising them before implanting the embryos back in the womb – so a low egg count means they will struggle to extract any.
Parker said it was devastating to find out she had an "extremely low" egg count, adding: "It felt like our future plans had been taken away from us."
She spent the next few months getting second opinions from private fertility clinics.
But Parker, a legal secretary, said: "Everyone was telling me the same thing – that I had a low egg count and would struggle to conceive naturally."
She and her 29-year-old husband started looking at egg donors, but a week before their first appointment she took a pregnancy test and it was positive.
After Lewis arrived, the couple, who married in 2014, wanted a bigger family, but knew it was highly unlikely.
However, an ultrasound scan in January revealed she was expecting the triplets. She gave birth at 32 weeks at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey.
Parker said: "They looked tiny, like little dolls." She added: "Lewis is a little young to fully understand he has three new siblings but isn’t fazed."