AN ISLE of Wight mum has published a book about her family's triumph against incredible odds, after the lives of her twin babies were saved.

Nichola Luther, mother to Sebastian, four, and twin boys, Leo and Asher, one, is hoping to raise further awareness that could save children's lives.

Her identical twins’ lives were saved after they were tested and diagnosed with TAPS – Twin Anaemia Polycythemia Sequence – but this was before surgeons were able to operate on them in the womb to save them.

Scroll down to watch Nichola's video message

What is TAPS and how does it affect identical twins?

TAPS affects three to five per cent of identical twins — leaving one twin very anaemic and the other polycythaemic (very high blood count) and can lead to extra strain on the heart in both babies. It can be fatal in some circumstances.

Nichola underwent a fetoscopic laser procedure to treat the babies, which involved inserting a camera into the womb, then using a laser to seal off the blood vessels that had been allowing blood to leak from one baby to the other.

The procedure was a success and, following further monitoring, Leo and Asher were born healthy.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Nichola Luther's book about TAPS and identical twins

Nichola is now sharing her story in her book TAPS, Identical Twins and COVID – A Story of Surviving.

She hopes parents experiencing the same journey see it as a ‘ray of hope’ and she pays tribute to the specialist doctors and staff at St George’s Hospital for saving her babies’ lives.

Nichola said: “When I found out the boys had TAPS there was next to nothing that was positive to find anywhere, it was terrifying.

"I wrote the book to make the condition less scary and let other parents of unborn TAPS twins know they’re not alone. My boys survived. It is possible.”

Professor Asma Khalil, professor of obstetrics and maternal foetal medicine at St George’s, said: “While there is no cure for TAPS, severe cases like Nichola’s can be treated with laser procedures in the womb and St George’s is one of only five centres in the UK able to provide this treatment.”

It is estimated that more than half of TAPS cases are missed before birth and some of those babies sadly don’t survive while those who do can, as a result, have long-term conditions including neurological impairment and deafness.

The Covid pandemic added to Nichola's heartache

On top of the initial TAPS diagnosis, Nichola and her husband Pete faced an additional challenge.

Her waters broke at 28 weeks in March 2020 — at the start of the Covid lockdown — and she had to be airlifted from her home for specialist care.

It meant she was separated from husband Pete and her then two-year-old son, Sebastian, for the rest of her pregnancy and the twins’ neonatal care.

Nichola was helped by the Twins Trust Centre for Research and Clinical Excellence at St George’s.

The Twins Trust said it is important parents-to-be to attend appointments and scans so healthcare professionals can monitor for any signs of TAPS.

To find out more or buy a copy of the book, go to