HOUSTON On Monday, a Houston couple gave birth to sextuplets. The rare but dramatic delivery had us wondering why fertility treatments still produce large multiple births, when more precise science can control the number of embryos. Surprisingly, doctors say large multiple births are both a medical marvel and something of a medical mishap.
We don t consider this a successful treatment, said Texas Children s Hospital Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. William Gibbons about the sextuplets.
Simply put, multiple births mean much lower weight babies and the smaller the baby, the greater the health risks.
In a typical pregnancy, it can take many eggs to make just one healthy baby.
If you re 28 years old only one in three eggs will make a baby. If you are 35, only in six eggs will make a baby, Gibbons said.
The Perkins ended up with sextuplets through artificial insemination.
This is when drugs trigger the release of several eggs at once for a mass fertilization attempt with injected sperm. Even so, really large multiple births are rare. Dr. Gibbons says, There s about one case of sextuplets born in America annually.
Also rare, that Lauren Perkins made it to her 7th month before giving birth.
It s wonderful that these children were able to stay in utero for 30 weeks, Gibbons said.
Artificial Insemination is roughly $3,000 an attempt and typically covered by insurance. In Vitro Fertilization, which allows precise control over the number of embryos, costs $15,000 per attempt and typically is not covered by insurance.
There isn t better insurance coverage for the better technique, Gibbons said.
The Perkins turned to science and faith for their new family, soon they will turn to relatives and friends.
Now she needs six hands! It needs to come from the neighborhood and the family, said the couple s neighbor Lubna Adnan.