Twins received lifesaving procedure at Texas Children's before they were born

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Twin sisters Amelia and Isabella were born prematurely on Nov. 3. They've been living in the NICU at the Texas Children's Pavilion for Women since then, and have been progressing well.

But getting here was something short of a Christmas miracle.

William and Heather Seuell were over the moon when they found out they were having twins. But 20 weeks into her pregnancy, she received some horrible news.

"I was very devastated hearing that there was a chance that they were not going to survive," Heather said.

The girls were diagnosed with TAPS, also known as Twin Anemia Polycythemia Sequence.

Maternal fetal medicine specialist Dr. Alireza Shamshirsaz said, "the disease, if it progresses, it could kill both of the babies."

It's an extremely rare syndrome that occurs in specific twin pregnancy cases where there are two amniotic sacs that share only one placenta.

"Basically twin B was taking blood from twin A, which would make twin B the recipient, and twin A the donor," said William.

When this happens, the recipient twin is at risk for increasing its blood count, while the donor twin suffers from blood loss. The Seuells were given a few options and chose a highly challenging laser ablation procedure.

"We have to look for very tiny vessels that's very hard to even see with the naked eyes" Dr. Shamshirsaz explained.

Only one or two laser procedures for TAPS are performed every year at the Texas Children's Fetal Center. The 45-minute procedure was a success.

"There's no complications left over from the TAPS. It was the best outcome it could have been," William said.

"We were hoping to have them home by Christmas, it's not looking like that's going to happen. But hoping they'll be home by the new year," Heather told Eyewitness News.

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