A couple who were set to go ahead with IVF have become proud parents of three identical triplets.

Lina Sapia, 35, from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, beat the staggering one in 200 million odds by naturally conceiving the babies - something she thought wasn't possible after needing IVF to conceive her firstborn Alba.

Lina, and her husband Fabio, wanted to extend their family and planned on using one of their four frozen embryos - but were surprised to discover they were expecting in September 2019.

At their six week scan, the couple were left in 'total shock' when their midwife detected three heartbeats.

Lina told DailyMail: 'We were trying for three years before we decided to have IVF with Alba, which was successful the first time.

We always knew we wanted to have another baby and assumed we would need to go through IVF again after being diagnosed with unexplained infertility.

'I experienced a second miscarriage three months prior to discovering I was pregnant with triplets in September. I didn't get my hopes up as I feared it may happen again. We booked in for an early scan at six weeks to check the baby was healthy and the nurse kept asking me questions such as, "Have I been feeling sick?"

'She went to get a second opinion and said, "There's more than one heartbeat," so we assumed two - not three!

'We were in total shock and couldn't believe it - Fabio, who is a risk analyst, was nervously laughing in the corner. We felt like we had won the lottery - neither of us have multiples in the family!'

There weren't any pregnancy complications and Lina gave birth at 32 weeks to Luis who weighed 2lb 8oz, Piero (3lb 6oz) and Remi (3lb 12oz).

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The couple admits they still get confused about who is who at times, and the 13-week-old triplets still wear velcro wrist bands with their initials on to ensure they're not mixed up.

Lina added: 'I felt anxious throughout the pregnancy as I feared something bad may happen and I couldn't deal with another miscarriage.

'But we had scans every two weeks to ensure everything was fine - it was incredible watching them grow.

'My bump became heavy and uncomfortable towards the end but I persevered as I still needed to be a mum to Alba and keep her entertained.

'They were born March 12 - and thankfully our parents were able to meet them before the UK went into lockdown.

'The triplets were like superstars at St. Peters in Chertsey (Surrey) as many of the staff hadn't seen identical triplets before.

'Fabio wasn't allowed to see them for three weeks whilst they were in hospital due to the restrictions - only via FaceTime, which was difficult.

'The NHS was absolutely incredible for not only getting us through the pregnancy but also providing 24-hour care when they were born.

'The lockdown has helped us form a bond and get into a routine with them. Alba absolutely adores them - she gives them a kiss every morning and night before bed.

'The wristbands are mainly for night feeds as there has been an occasion when one baby nearly got fed twice as it is hard to tell them apart!'

Copyright: Carters News Agency