London - Anyone who catches a glimpse of the Winstanley family could be forgiven for thinking they are seeing double.
Because identical brothers John and Dave Winstanley are now the proud fathers of three sets of non-identical twin brothers between them.
It is believed to be the first time this has happened in the UK. Even their partners bear a close resemblance to each other.
The three sets of twins arrived in under two years – meaning the newborn baby routine of nappies, bottles and sleepless nights hit the brothers like a whirlwind.
The pair, from Congleton, Cheshire, were stunned when their partners became pregnant within months of each other. Business analyst John, 35, and his wife Jayne, 35, became parents of James and Joshua in 2016 while Dave and partner Amy Parrish saw Seth and Jake arrive in 2017.
Jayne later gave birth to Jack and Joel. She said of her first pregnancy: "My grandfather had a brother and sister who were twins, so we were half-expecting there to be two babies.
"Everyone in the family was saying that it was bound to happen. And when I went for a scan at 12 weeks pregnant, sure enough there were two heartbeats in there.
"I had bad morning sickness for months, but otherwise my pregnancy went really smoothly."
The twins were born at Macclesfield General Hospital. Jayne said of her second lot of twins: "Three days after I knew I was pregnant I started to feel really sick, so I just knew it was another set of twins again.
"I kept telling John 'Don’t expect there to be just one in there.' And my stomach went really big very quickly."
The twins were eventually delivered by Caesarean.
Jayne said: "Jack stopped breathing when he was born, but luckily the doctors were able to resuscitate him and he was able to breathe on his own after 15 minutes. But it was very traumatic."
She added: "It’s lovely that all the twins are so close together. Our twins don’t look alike – they each look more like the other set of twins, so James and Joel look very similar, as do Jack and Joshua."
Both sets of parents say their families are now complete.
Jayne insisted: "That’s definitely it now – as I’m sure we would end up with yet another set of twins. The key to it all is keeping to a strict routine – otherwise it would just be chaos."
Although John and Dave are identical, experts said this should not influence the likelihood of non-identical twins which run on the female side of the family.
Some women are more likely to produce two eggs in one cycle – it is unusual that both Jayne and Amy had this.
Jane Denton, of the Multiple Birth Foundation, said she was not aware of any other family in the UK in the same situation. She added: "This is a very interesting case – and very unusual."