Modern medicine has enabled supposedly infertile couples to be able to have children but sometimes the fertility drugs taken to achieve this produce more than the couple imagined possible. The multiples are usually born in varying degrees of health. Some die within hours or days. So what are the records for numbers of babies born in a multiple birth?
Octuplets (eight) were born to a Houston, Texas, couple, Nkem Chukru and Iyke Louis Udobi, on December 21, 2001. One of the babies was born 13 days earlier in natural labor. The rest were delivered by caesarean section surgery. Of the six girls and two boys, seven survived longer than one week. One girl, the smallest baby weighing only 10.3 ounces, died when one week old. The largest baby was 26 ounces.
There are three incidents of septuplets who have survived for any length of time after their birth.
The McCaughey septuplets, a product of in vitro fertilization, were born in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 19, 1997.The caesarean section surgery took sixteen minutes. The smallest baby was two pounds, five ounces, with the largest weighing three pounds, four ounces. The four boys and three girls are still alive. These septuplets are perhaps the most-watched set of multiples since the Dionne identical quintuplets were born in 1934 in Canada. Their birth was the subject of the book "Seven from Heaven: The Miracle of the McCaughey Septuplets" by Gregg Lewis, Deborah Shaw Lewis, and the McCaughey parents, Bobbi and Kenny.
On January 14, 1998, four boys and three girls were born to Hasna Mohammed Humair and her husband Abdullah Ibn Mohammed Sammam of Saudi Arabia. This was an unplanned pregnancy from fertility drugs taken to correct her cycle.
On July 12, 2001, two girls and five boys were born at Georgetown University Hospital to Fahad Al Qahtani and his wife, a Saudi Arabian couple. This pregnancy was due to ovulation induction, where drugs are introduced that will stimulate the production of eggs in the mother.
The Khamis septuplets were delivered by caesarean section surgery on August 16, 2008. The mother, Ghazala Khamis, took fertility drugs. The babies, four girls and three boys, weighed between 3.2 to almost 6.2 pounds upon their birth at El-Shatbi Hospital in Alexandria, Egypt.
Who knows what the future will bring as medical advances allow better life-saving techniques for often premature multiple births and more women choose fertility treatments to have children?