Port Talbot twins who survived womb surgery start school

Image source, Adrian White
Image caption,
Lily and Darcy Ellis had a rare condition that could have starved them of oxygen before they were born

Twin girls have defied the odds and started school after surviving laser surgery in the womb.

Lily and Darcy Ellis had a 5% chance of survival after being diagnosed with a rare condition threatening to starve them of oxygen before they were born.

Doctors carried out a pioneering operation while their mother Rachel Ellis was 17 weeks pregnant.

"They are brilliant," Mrs Ellis, from Port Talbot, said. "The teacher still doesn't know who is who."

Image source, Wales News Service
Image caption,
Despite the odds, the twins were born healthy

Now aged four, the twins are happy and healthy despite being diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome; a disease of the placenta.

The disease affects blood vessels in the shared placenta which connect the umbilical cords and circulations of the twins.

Mrs Ellis, 30, had an operation which involved inserting a fibre optic laser down a tiny endoscope into her womb to seal off some of the shared blood vessels to ensure both twins received a more equal supply of blood.

Image source, Adrian White
Image caption,
The twins appeared in the BBC drama Casualty

Doctors feared the worst when Mrs Ellis' waters broke at 19 weeks, but the amniotic sacs miraculously re-sealed and the twins were born healthy at 37 weeks.

They went on to become TV stars with an appearance on BBC hospital drama Casualty.

This week they started at Ysgol Bae Baglan near their home.

"I feel grateful that they are here every day - it is incredible," Mrs Ellis said. "They are two little miracles.

"They are so close. Wherever one goes, the other follows. It's wonderful to see them together.

"I am so proud of them both and all they have achieved already in their short lives."