A woman in Virginia just gave birth to ̾s̾e̾xtuplets after nearly two decades of trying to conceive with her husband. But how does a pregnancy of such a high degree take place?
The six babies were delivered on May 11 at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, three boys and three girls. The babies weighed between 1 pound, 10 ounces (0.74 kilograms) and 2 pounds, 15 ounces (1.33 kilograms), and the birth required a 40-person team. According to VCU Medical Center, the mother, Ajibola Taiwo, and father, Adeboye Taiwo, had tried unsuccessfully to conceive for 17 years before this pregnancy.
In a statement, Dr. Ronald Ramus, director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at VCU Medical Center, stated, “It’s not every day that parents bring home ̾s̾e̾xtuplets.” “For seven days, Mrs. Taiwo ate, slept, and breathed.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, multiple pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg splits before implanting in the uterus (identical twins) or when separate eggs are fertilized by different s̾p̾e̾r̾m ̾ (producing fraternal twins).
Pregnancies with three or more fetuses, on the other hand, are uncommon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4 million live births occurred in the United States in 2015, with 3,871 being triplets, 228 quadruplets, and just 24 being quintuplets or other higher-order births (such as ̾s̾e̾xtuplets).
Such high-order pregnancies are extremely unusual to occur naturally, without the use of reproductive therapies.
Dr. Avner Hershlag, chief of Northwell Health Fertility in Manhäṩṩet, New York, who is not involved in the ̾s̾e̾xtuplets’ treatment, stated, “The possibility for high-multiple gestations — four and above — to arise spontaneously is extremely, incredibly rare.”
Fertility pills improve the odds of multiple pregnancies by stimulating the ovaries to generate many eggs. According to the University of Rochester, if any of these many eggs are fertilized simultaneously, several infants can arise.
Multiple pregnancies can occur as a result of in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, this is less prevalent today than in the past. Because the chances of becoming pregnant with IVF were formerly low, doctors would transfer many embryos to the uterus to boost the chances of conception, according to Hershlag.
“In the early days of IVF, [it] was still responsible for a significant number of multiples,” Hershlag explained, “since it was not uncommon to put [in] three, four, five, or even six embryos at a time.” However, when IVF techniques were improved, the chances of each embryo being transferred, resulting in pregnancy, increased.
Multiple pregnancies, according to Hershlag, are linked to a higher risk of difficulties than single pregnancies, including a higher risk of preterm birth.
“Multiple births are not good for any fertility clinic. This isn’t a triumph; it’s a failure, “According to Hershlag. “While I wish the couple who recently gave birth to the ̾s̾e̾xtuplets health and happiness in the future, I must underscore that such an occurrence should be a thing of the past. Single embryo transfers should be done as often as possible by fertility doctors.”
According to VCU, all six babies receive treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit and are doing well. According to the statement, Ajibola Taiwo was released from the hospital on May 18, and she and her husband are actively involved in their children’s care.