Birth of Octuplets shocks medical experts in California today.

“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 by caesarean section Monday and ranged in weight from 1 pound, 8 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces.

“The babies had a very good night,” (click to read entire article)

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.

Despite that hopeful report, however, higher-order multiple births (defined as three or more babies born together) are dangerous for babies and the mother. Infants born prematurely face the risk of breathing problems and brain injuries that may cause permanent disability. Problems in premature babies, including learning disabilities or cognitive delays, are often not apparent until years after their birth.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say “doctors should be making efforts to curb these higher-order multiple gestations,” said Dr. Geeta Swamy, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University. “But it really is still up to the individual physician. There aren’t any laws or legal ramifications to it.”

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