Woman with polycystic ovary syndrome told she was likely infertile conceives triplets

Figures suggest that one in 10 women have PCOS, which roughly translates into 3.5 million women in the UK.

Monique Bertrand, who has polycystic ovary syndrome, conceived the three pictured triples. (Monique Bertrand/SWNS)
Monique Bertrand has polycystic ovary syndrome and didn't believe she would have children but found herself pregnant with triplets. (Monique Bertrand/SWNS)

A woman told she may never have children after being diagnosed with polycystic ovaries was shocked to find out she'd conceived triplets naturally.

Monique Bertrand, 38, from Lewisham, London was told she was living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in October 2013.

Due to the severity of her condition, doctors said the likelihood of her being able to have children was extremely slim.

Read more: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Symptoms, causes and treatments, Yahoo Life UK

After meeting her partner, John, 39, seven years ago, they decided that if they had not conceived by the end of 2022 they would go on to become foster parents.

To help aid her chances of pregnancy, in 2021, Bertrand lost over six stone by switching to a healthier lifestyle and upping her exercise.

Despite this, and after seven years of trying, she felt there was "no hope" and started seriously researching fostering and adoption.

Bertrand at her baby shower. (Monique Bertrand/SWNS)
Bertrand at her baby shower. (Monique Bertrand/SWNS)

But in April 2022, the assistant director for education says she was "over the moon" to discover she was pregnant.

However, it wasn't until eight weeks into her pregnancy, when she started bleeding, that doctors broke the news she was expecting triplets during an emergency ultrasound.

Having shared the update to their "delighted" guests at a baby shower when she was 27 weeks pregnant, Bertrand went on to welcome healthy triplets on 9 November 2022.

Doctors delivered all three babies via caesarean section: Lylah and Machó both weighed 2lbs 8oz while Trinity weighed 2lbs 1oz.

(Monique Bertrand/SWNS)
(Monique Bertrand/SWNS)

Read more: Twin due to be medically aborted to save his brother makes a surprise arrival, Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read

After spending 50 days in the special care unit at University Hospital Lewisham, the trio are now six months old and thriving at home.

"I'd waited a long time to be a mum so when the sonographer said it was triplets I just shouted in confusion and happiness," she says of hearing she was pregnant with three babies.

"I just burst into tears.

"It's been a blessing with so many challenges," she continues. "The doctors called them miracle babies."

PCOS diagnosis

Bertrand's difficult journey to motherhood began when she was 28 and diagnosed with PCOS - a common condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work.

"I kept having a lot of pain during ovulation and my period and was getting a bit sick," she says of her symptoms. "My GP sent me for a scan and did tests to rule out everything else, and after that called me to discuss.

(Monique Bertrand/SWNS)
(Monique Bertrand/SWNS)

Read more: Miscarriage: What happens and where to find support - Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read

After learning it would be very difficult for her to conceive Bertrand says she "went into a deep depression."

But, having met her partner a year later Monique told John about her fertility issues and in November 2019 the couple were shocked to discover Bertrand was unexpectedly pregnant.

"I had a miscarriage in February 2020, and was broken," she says.

Following advice from one of the midwives treating her, Bertrand decided to try and lose weight dropping from 18st 8lbs to 12st 5lbs in just one year, and in April 2022 she was delighted to find out she was pregnant.

But at eight weeks she started to bleed and was rushed to the early pregnancy unit at King's College Hospital.

"The sonographer asked if we'd done IVF," she explains. "After we said no, she told us it was triplets."

Though she was diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypoglycaemia, Bertrand managed to attend a baby shower on the 15 October 2022, where her, John and her mum, Judith Patterson, 56, all released a confetti cannon each, two pink and one blue to represent the triplets.

"The whole place went wild," she says of the moment.

Watch: Bebe Rexha reflects on 'tough' response to weight gain amid PCOS diagnosis

That same week, the couple were told one of their daughters, Trinity, was at risk as her umbilical cord wasn't working properly.

Doctors offered them an abortion to secure the health of the two healthy triplets, but they refused and Bertrand had three ultrasounds per week to monitor Trinity's progress.

At 30 weeks, she was rushed to hospital after developing pre-eclampsia and was transferred to St George's Hospital, Tooting, for a caesarean.

After briefly getting to hold all three babies, they were whisked to the NICU before being transferred on to University Hospital Lewisham, South East London, a week later, where their mum was also taken to monitor her recovery.

On December 29, 2022, having spent almost two months in hospital, all three babies were finally discharged.

Read more: Woman conceives twins 28 days apart after getting pregnant twice in one month, Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read

(Monique Bertrand/SWNS)
(Monique Bertrand/SWNS)

Additional reporting SWNS.