Birth of Octuplets Rattles Fertility Experts

[caption id=“attachment_2751” align=“alignright” width=“300” caption=“Doctors at Kaiser Peranente in Beliflower, California take questions at a news conference on Monday”]Doctors at Kaiser Peranente in Beliflower, California take questions at a news conference on Monday[/caption]

Article Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

By Shari Roan and Jeff Gottlieb

Even as the birth of octuplets at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center drew attention and applause from around the country, questions arose Tuesday about whether the mother’s doctors did enough to prevent such a risky pregnancy.

The chances that the eight babies born Monday were conceived naturally are infinitesimal, infertility specialists and doctors in maternal-fetal medicine say. Today’s reproductive experts have the tools and the know-how to avoid such high-risk pregnancies—and often try desperately to do so.

“When we see something like this in the general fertility world, it gives us the heebie-jeebies,” said Michael Tucker, a clinical embryologist in Atlanta and a leading researcher in infertility treatment. Tucker added that in his opinion, “if a medical practitioner had anything to do with it, there’s some degree of inappropriate medical therapy there.”

The parents of the octuplets have not been identified, and Kaiser officials say they have not been authorized to release information to the public on how the babies were conceived.

Doctors reported Tuesday that the eight babies, six boys and two girls, are doing fine. The babies were delivered Monday by cesarean section 9 1/2 weeks early and ranged in weight from 1 pound, 8 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces.

“The babies had a very good night,” said Dr. Mandhir Gupta, a neonatologist at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center. The babies are stable and the two who were receiving help breathing had their breathing tubes removed Tuesday morning. They began feeding as well.

“They’re doing amazingly well,” Gupta said.