Septuplets born after IVF

Photo: AP An Egyptian mother of three daughters who was desperate for a son gave birth on Saturday to septuplets after fertility treatment. Ghazala Khamis, 27, now has four boys as well as three more girls. The odds of conceiving seven babies in one pregnancy are one in 3.9 billion. The newborns, who weighed between 2.3 lbs and 4 lbs at birth, are being kept in incubators -- at three different hospitals --but initially appeared to be healthy. Their mother was also in good condition after receiving a blood transfusion. The babies were delivered by C-section at eight months because the mother was suffering pressure on her kidneys.

An early report from the (official) Egyptian news agency MENA quoted the gynaecologist who headed the delivery team as saying, “It’s really a miracle, (the mother) had taken no stimulants during ovulation.” Subsequent reports stated she was having IVF treatment which involves drugs to stimulate the ovaries.

Ms Khamis’ hyper-fertility occurs during a campaign by the Egyptian government to suppress population growth. In March President Hosni Mubarak blamed overpopulation for acute shortages of housing and subsidised bread. However, the health minister has promised Ms Khamis and her husband -- who is a casual farm worker earning only a few dollars a day -- free milk and nappies for their babies. Her brother, Khamis Khamis, says what they need most is a house big enough for them all. “I hope the government will give them an apartment. With the help of Allah they will make it, but I think that it will be difficult.” ~ The Scotsman, August 18



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