The parents of premature twins given just a 1% chance of survival have spoken of their joy at being able to bring them home.
Ashley and Joe Keates each weighed less than 1lb (403g and 429g) when they were born at just 23 weeks on 16 April. They are believed to be the smallest to survive in the UK.
Their mother Talia Keates told The Sun when signs of problems with the pregnancy arose at 17 weeks she was told to consider abortion and then when her waters broke at 20 weeks she was told they had little chance of survival.
But, after more than four months in intensive care, the brave little brothers are now at home with their parents and four other siblings.
Joe was born naturally, while Ashley was born by caesarean section afterwards as the twins had separate amniotic sacs.
Talia said, “Ashley and Joe are my bouncing little miracles. I feel extremely lucky and very grateful. I guess they are one in a million”.
“They were tiny, they were probably the length of your hand and their skin was almost transparent and their eyes were still fused together.
“It just goes to show what incredible fighters they are.”
Both boys, now seven months old, remain on oxygen 24 hours a day to help as their lungs develop but show bright signs for the future.
Talia, who is a nurse, has thanked teams at Bristol Southmead Hospital and the Royal United Hospital in Bath, proclaiming they had been amazing.
She added: “I want my story to give hope to others who find themselves in a similar situation.”
The father of the boys, Oliver, added: “We’ve been so blessed, they are our little miracle babies that complete our family.”
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the survival rate for extremely premature babies has doubled over the past decade, prompting new guidance allowing doctors to try to save babies born as early as 22 weeks into a pregnancy.
However, it is currently legal in Great Britain to abort unborn babies up to 24 weeks, or up to birth if doctors believe the baby will be born with a disability.
Spokesperson for Right To Life UK Catherine Robinson said:
“It has been over a decade since abortion time limits were last debated fully in Parliament, in 2008. Since then the survival rate for premature babies has doubled. Our current abortion time limit, at 24 weeks, is way out of line with medical breakthroughs and the rest of Europe where the most common abortion time limit is 12 weeks, making time limits an issue Parliament should urgently revisit.”