Little Jonah was completely white whereas mother Catherine has the dark black skin of her Nigerian heritage. When the midwife presented Catherine Howarth with her new baby, she was convinced she’d been given the wrong child. The little boy was completely white – whereas new mum Catherine has the dark black skin of her Nigerian heritage. For even though baby Jonah has a white father, doctors say the chances of him being white too were an incredible one in a million. And it wasn’t only the “miracle” baby’s mum who was stunned. “The midwife looked at me and looked back down at Jonah and then at me again and couldn’t believe it,” said Catherine, 32.
“The doctors confirmed it was extremely rare.” Her husband Richard, 34, a medical recruitment consultant, was equally astonished. He had expected his son, who was born at Milton Keynes Hospital on June 1, to have darker skin. He said: “When I first set eyes on my baby boy Jonah, it was a feeling of pure delight and relief that he was healthy and strong. His complexion was very pale due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck when he was being delivered.
“After a few hours his colour came to his cheeks. Catherine and I noticed his complexion was very similar to mine and were surprised it was as light. The midwives and doctors told us he’ll most likely remain this colour.” Financial analyst Catherine said: “Some children get darker after a few weeks when the skin colour they will have for life starts to become obvious. But you can see from the colour at the tips of their ears what that will be. We saw straight away that Jonah was fully white.”
Doctors have said he is not an albino. “We have been told that I must have been carrying a recessive gene,” said Catherine. “My parents were from Nigeria and, for as far back as anyone can remember; my family have all been black.
“But at some point there must have been a white gene in my family that has remained dormant for years and years – until now. “The doctors said they had researched the chances of this happening and discovered that it was very, very rare. “They had only found two similar cases, both in America that had been reported in recent times.”
Catherine and Richard, from Milton Keynes, plan to have more children but have been told the chances of them also being born white are highly unlikely. Jonah’s remarkable colour follows the birth in 2010 of Nmachi Ihegboro, who is white despite having two black parents. Nine years ago, mixed-race couple Kylie Hodgson, 27, and Remi Horder, 25, from Nottingham, became parents to twin daughters – one white and one black. Yesterday, delighted Catherine said: “Despite the initial shock, Richard and I couldn’t be happier. Jonah is a beautiful, happy and smiling son, and I adore him.” And Richard said: “The colour of his skin is of no concern – Jonah being a healthy and happy baby is what matters.”