Identical Twins Are One-In-Five-Million After Both Are Born With Down Syndrome


When waiting for a new baby to arrive, most families are just concerned if their children are healthy. For this reason, not everyone chooses to undergo genetic screening before their babies are born. Justin Ackerman and Stephanie Combs from Jacksonville, Florida, welcomed twins into the world two months before their due date on May 12, 2021. They knew one of their babies might have a genetic disorder, but chose not to do the additional testing anyway. Baby girls Mckenli and Kennadi Ackerman were both born with Down syndrome, making them one in a million.

The statistics for how many babies are born with Down syndrome report that the likelihood of both twins developing the disorder is extremely low. While the parents were shocked by the news, they were even more thrilled that both of their daughters are healthy and happy. Because they were born early, the twins had to spend extra time in the hospital. So, it felt extra special when they were able to go home with their mom and dad.

Down syndrome is also called trisomy 21 because the genetic disorder is caused by the presence of a part of, or entire, third copy of chromosome 21. The lives of people with Down’s can vary greatly. Some graduate high school, go on to higher education and decide to get jobs in the workforce. While others require more assistance with financial and legal matters as adults. Regular check-ups and health screening is recommended for people with Down syndrome throughout their lives.

Keep reading to learn more about Mckenli and Kennadi and how they are doing now.

Every child is special, but Mckenli and Kennadi are indeed “rare.” The medical director of Wolfson Children’s Hospital’s Duran Genetics Center in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Pamela Trapane, said that both twins being born with Down syndrome is “exceedingly rare.”

Mckenli and Kennadi surprised everyone when they first came into the world. The doctor added: “For every 1,000 twin pregnancies, around two will have at least one baby with Down syndrome. However, the chance prior to a pregnancy that the pregnancy will be twins and that both twins will have Down syndrome is around one in 1 to 5 million.”

Everyone reacts to surprising news differently, and that was certainly the case for these parents. Combs’s husband, Ackerman, was “very emotional” when he first learned the twin’s diagnosis, but their mom said she was “just happy they were here.”

Combs and Ackerman were told before the babies were born that there was a high chance that one of them would have Down syndrome, but still decided not to do the genetic testing. The first-time mother said, “Every (prenatal) appointment they were alive was a blessing to me.”

In January 2022, the babies are “hitting milestones like no other,” according to Combs. They go to both physical and occupational therapy every week and their mom thinks they are close to crawling.

The twins are both incredibly adorable. Both girls are doing well and their parents couldn’t be happier. Combs also said that the twins are very different from one another. Apparently, Kennadi is a “ray of sunshine,” while Mckenli is “a total diva.”

Combs spoke to News4Jax when the twins were 5 months old in October 2021 and reiterated, “It’s very rare what they have, but they’ve been my little gems.”

Combs also further explained that “They’re called mono di twins, meaning that they had their own sacs, but they shared the same placenta, meaning that they were going to be identical.” She added, “Mo di twins as it is, it’s like very rare. And then you throw Down syndrome on top of it, it’s like one in 2 million.”

As a mother, Combs also had something important to say about her daughters and reminded everyone that they are no different than other babies. “They have feelings. They have a beating heart. They know how to talk. They know how to do things you do. They will get there. Like I said, it may be a step behind but they’re going to do it. I’ve learned these kids are feisty little things and happy little things,” the loving mother explained.

For Down Syndrome Awareness Month, all Combs wants is for people to know that children born with the condition are no less than anyone else, “They’re just like us. I’m not going to treat them any differently because they have Down syndrome.”

It isn’t easy raising a child whom you love deeply but who the world treats differently just because they look different. Parents who have kids with Down Syndrome know that their children are just like any other, but the negativity attached to the condition can be hard on families.

However, Combs and her family are attempting to smash the stigma and negativity surrounding raising children with Down Syndrome through their TikTok channel. We wish these beautiful girls and their wonderful family the best for their future!

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