Twins Born 87 Days Apart: 'Truly Extraordinary' Births Set World Record

By iScienceTimes Staff on May 1, 2013 5:09 PM EDT

Baby foot
Two twin girls were born 87 days apart in Ireland. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Two newborn twins, born 87 days apart, may have broken a Guinness World Record before their first birthdays.

Last June, in Waterford, Ireland, Maria Jones-Elliott gave birth to Amy, who was four months premature and weighed a little over a pound. It wasn't until Aug. 27, a stunning 87 days later, that Amy's twin sister, Katie, came into the world.

Twins are usually born within minutes of one another, leading Dr. Sam Coulter Smith at Dublin's Rotunda Hospital to call the Jones-Elliott twins' 87 days between births "truly extraordinary."

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While both girls are now healthy, the pregnancy was fraught with fear.

"Amy was fighting for her life in an incubator and Katie was struggling to survive in my womb," Jones-Elliott told the Daily Mirror. For Jones-Elliott and her husband Chris, the period between the two births was "the hardest three months of our lives."

After Jones-Elliott's first twin was born, her contractions stopped. Attempts at inducing the birth of the second twin were unsuccessful, and eventually Jones-Elliott and her husband decided that "enough is enough. Let nature take its course."

That course took 87 days, but ended with the healthy baby girls joining their siblings, Olivia and Jack, and two enormously relieved parents.

"I call the girls our little miracles," Jones-Elliott told the Daily Mirror. "As I held Amy for the first time I stroked my bump and prayed to God. I just wanted my girls to be together and safe and well."

Such a prolonged period between twin births is rare-and dangerous. Delayed-delivery twin births often ends in death for one or both of the twins. In a 2002 study of delayed-delivery pregnancies, the second-born twin survived 79 percent of the time, while the survival rate of the first twin was only 7 percent. And in that study, the average period between each twin birth was only 47 days -- nowhere near the 87 days between the births of Amy and Katie.

The existing record for longest gaps between twin births is 84 days, which was set between 1995 and 1996 by Peggy Lynn of Huntingdon, Penn. Guinness World Records spokesman Damian Field confirmed that if evidence in the Jones-Elliott case is valid, then Amy and Katie, born 87 days apart, will indeed hold the record.

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