A 28-year-old Houston woman gave birth to sextuplets on Monday this week, April 23rd. They are an exact matching set: three boys and three girls, weighing in range from one pound 10 ounces, to two pounds, fifteen ounces. They were delivered via Caesarean, and all the babies are in stable condition.
The parents, Lauren and David Perkins, had been struggling with infertility, and decided to try fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination, or IUI. This procedure is the step in between trying naturally and going all the way to a fully lab created pregnancy, (in vitro fertilization), or IVF. The possibility of multiple births jumps to 35% if the pregnancy takes place through Assisted Reproductive Therapy, which includes IUI and IVF.
The chances of a sextuplet pregnancy occurring naturally are about one in every 4.5 million pregnancies. But with the increased use of fertility drugs and procedures, that percentage is greatly increased. On their website, the parents refer to their sextuplets as “The Perkins Pack,” and note that the chances of conceiving sextuplets during IUI is less than one percent.
Delivering all six babies alive and well is also a fairly modern capability, due to the increased use of lung developing drugs, and neonatal Intensive Care Units. In ninety percent of sextuplet live births, one or more of the siblings will die before they turn one year old, due to complications from premature delivery.
In a world of unbelievable odds, there are still record holders. The world’s first known set of sextuplets to be born alive were the Thorn babies, born in 1968, in England. (One baby died shortly after birth, and two others died within two weeks). Rosenkowitz sextuplets, born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1974, were the first sextups known to survive their infancy. The world’s only set of all girl sextuplets are the Walton sisters
defied the odds and are now 27 years old. Of course the most famous sextuplets are the children of Jon and Kate Gosselin, who starred the wildly popular TLC reality show, Jon and Kate Plus 8, (and after their divorce, just Kate Plus 8). The opportunity to see into the chaotic lives of a family on this scale was unprecedented, and was TLC’s most highly rated programing.
All of us here at Dailystrength send our best wishes to the Perkins babies and their family.
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