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Is it right to have 8 babies, all at once?

By January 28, 2009 - 2:50pm
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A woman in California had eight babies the other day and all are doing well. They used fertility treatments to get pregnant.

What do you think of this trend towards multiples, when using technology to conceive? Not twins or even triplets, but quintuplets or sextuplets, and now octuplets? Is this dangerous? The consequences are enormous, from the parenting aspects to the health issues to the possible financial costs to the taxpayer.

Should selective reduction (abortion) be necessary, when it is found that a woman is carrying an entire "litter" of children? Is it irresponsible to have all these babies at once, when the body was only designed to have one or two?

But the new parents are thrilled! Is this a true blessing and a sign that technology has given us options never imagined a few decades ago?

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I'm doubtful as to whether it was IVF. Most doctors simply won't implant that many embryos at once. They may fertilize that many, but they'll save the remaining embryos for a future try, realizing that a large multiple pregnancy endangers both the mother and the fetuses, and that premature birth (which is common with multiples) often leaves a baby with physical or developmental challenges.

With artificial insemination, however, that many eggs can develop as a result of fertility medicine. They can be fertilized, and decisions have to be made as to whether to have selective reduction, to bring the number of embryos down and give them each a better shot at development and survival. In this case, however, the mother chose to try to carry them all rather than choose to destroy any of them.

Honestly, if I were in that position, I'm not sure how I'd decide. I'd want the embryos to have the best possible chance, but I'd struggle over the question of selective reduction. I'd always think "what if," and wonder about the ones that weren't born. While the prospect of carrying and then caring for eight babies is frightening, the prospect of having to choose selective reduction is really scary as well.

January 29, 2009 - 10:23am

There is more to the story, rumors on tonight's news (I live in Southern California) stated that she is a single mom that already had 6 or 7 other children. One of her neighbors apparently told a radio station that she could not believe she wanted to have more babies and was using student loan dollars to pay for the IVF treatments. I do not know what to think after I heard this other side of the story....single mom, no job, 6 other kids, what was she thinking!!!!

January 29, 2009 - 12:05am
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