A young woman has given birth to a miracle albino baby even though she was told by doctors that she would not be able to have children.
Shannon Conarty, 22, of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, found out when she was 15 that she had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a disorder brought on by an imbalance of hormones, that she would only have a 10% chance of conceiving naturally.
After three years of trying to get pregnant, the carer was shocked to discover she was expecting. And in September 2018, Ms Conarty gave birth to health baby girl, Ava, who is now four months old.
Shannon says: “Becoming a mum has always been a dream of mine.
“Ava feels like a little miracle, and even more so after she was diagnosed with albinism.”
Ava was born with white hair and crimson eyes. The defective genes that a child receives from their parents are the root cause of albinism.
The National Institutes of Health estimate that one in 17,000 people worldwide suffer from albinism. Due to the body’s abundance of melanin, the disorder may have an impact on both their eyesight and skin color.
Shannon and her partner Tom Kane, 30, started trying for a baby when she was in her late teens.
She said: “We fell in love and when I revealed that I was unlikely to have children, Tom was understanding. When I was 18, we started trying for a baby, but I never fell pregnant.
“Every month when I got my period, I was devastated. And the thought of never having children made me feel depressed. We even decided to have IVF if I didn’t conceive by the time I was 25.”
But surprisingly, three years on in January 2018, Ms Conarty discovered she was pregnant.
She says: “Tom and I were delighted. My pregnancy went without a hitch, but I had extra scans to monitor me.”
She says: “My weight fluctuated and my ovarian cysts were causing me a lot of pain.
“At the time, doctors revealed I had a 10% chance of conceiving children naturally as my fallopian tubes were covered in cysts.
“As I was still in high school at the time, I never gave it a second thought.”
“When she [Ava] was born, I noticed she had red eyes and white hair, but thought nothing of it.”
The color of Ava’s eyes worried her health visitor when she was just two weeks old. A month after her birth, little Ava was given the diagnosis of albinism. According to Shannon, “We didn’t believe it.”
“Doctors told us it was very rare, as children get it from their parents, me and Tom are undergoing genetic testing to see which of us carries the gene.
“Ava will always have red eyes and white hair. We won’t fully understand the extent of her partial blindness and increased sensitivity to sunlight due to her albinism until she is older.”
But her unusual eye colour draws in strangers. Ms Conarty said: “Every time we leave the house, people comment how beautiful she is. But despite the admiring remarks, I do worry about her when she gets older.
“Due to her sight problems, she’ll be unable to drive and I worry about her being bullied at school.
“But me and Tom will raise her to love herself as she is. After all, she’s our little miracle!”