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Black woman beat million-to-one odds after she gave birth to 2 white babies

Mary Scott
Sep 15, 2018
12:16 A.M.
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A black woman of Nigerian heritage recorded an incredible feat after giving birth to two white babies. An expert said the chances of this happening are millions-to-one.

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Catherine Howarth is a financial analyst living in Milton Keynes with her husband, Richard. The couple was surprised when they had their first child, Jonah, and he was completely white. Catherine believed it was due to a rare recessive white gene in her ancestry that suddenly became dominant.

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She explained:

“When Jonah was born, a genetic specialist said he was a one-in-a-million baby. He said it was extraordinary with my African background that I'd had a child with blue eyes and pale skin. He calculated the possibility of it happening again was less than one in a million.”

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But it did happen again for Catherine. Her second child, daughter Sophia, was just as white and blue-eyed as her older brother. Catherine recalled the shock experienced by both her and her husband:

“When Sophia was born with white skin and blue eyes I was more than taken back with shock. It seems the odds of it happening twice are millions-to-one. No-one has heard of a black mum having two white babies one after the other.

When I had Jonah he was so white both Richard and I thought the midwife had given us the wrong child. But if anything, having Sophia has been even more of a shock because we were sure it couldn't happen twice.”

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The mom-of-two shared the challenges that come with being the black parent to two white babies. She revealed that she often got mistaken as the children’s nanny because people didn’t understand how she ended up with two white kids.

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Despite the attention that comes with being considered a rarity, Richard has said it matters little what color their children are. According to him:

“While it is interesting how the genes have aligned themselves, it doesn't matter to us what color our children's skin is. We just feel incredibly lucky to have a beautiful son and daughter. Having healthy and happy kids is all that matters.”

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Colleen Lynch, a Molecular Geneticist, in an attempt to explain the phenomenon, said:

“While you might imagine this couple would have babies who are a mixture of both their skin tones, there are so many genes involved that it is a million-to-one chance they have had white babies. It is likely there is a white gene somewhere in the woman's remote ancestry and due to an evolutionary throwback - known as atavism - this trait has suddenly reappeared.”

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