IVF Doctors Shocked At 65-year-old Mum Of Quadruplets

Experts at a top fertility conference are dismayed at the case of a German woman who after having 13 children has had IVF quadruplets at the age of 65.

The episode damages the reputation of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), which has enabled millions to know the joy of parenthood, they said.

“It’s the kind of tale which makes headlines around the world and skews the image of our field,” said Francoise Shenfield, a specialist in reproductive medicine and bioethics at University College London.

The controversy swirls around Annegret Raunigk, a Berlin teacher near retirement age who is the oldest woman to have given birth to quadruplets.

After going to Ukraine for IVF treatment from anonymous donors, Raunigk gave birth last month to three boys and a girl, delivered by Caesarean about 15 weeks early.

The babies weighed between 655 and 960 grams (1.4 to 2.1 pounds) at birth, have since gained between 30 and 50 percent in weight “and are developing well”, Berlin’s Charite Hospital said Wednesday.

One is on respiratory assistance and the others “require milder aids for breathing”, it added, but medical confidentiality barred it from saying more.

One baby required surgery for an intestinal problem, doctors said last month.

Specialists interviewed at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), closing in Lisbon Wednesday, highlighted ethical concerns about the mother’s age and risks for the babies.

There is no international regulation of fertility treatment and national guidelines are based on medical opinion.

A general age limit for IVF is about 50, close to the typical onset of menopause, the experts said.

Women in Germany today live to around 85, “so you could argue that a 65-year-old’s got 20 years and could see that child through to adult life,” said Adam Balen, a professor of reproductive medicine and chairman of the British Fertility Society.

A much bigger concern, he said, was that the clinic had implanted numerous embryos to boost chances of a live birth.

“Multiple pregnancies are dangerous. They’re dangerous for the mother, but they’re more dangerous for the babies,” said Balen.

Fertility clinics in advanced economies stopped routine transfers of multiple embryos about six years ago.

The evidence shows that babies born from such multiple transplants generally enter the world with lower birthweight and higher risk of ill health and cognitive difficulties.

Most Western watchdogs recommend single embryo transfers, which are now much more likely to succeed than a decade ago.

The German Society for Reproductive Medicine (DGRM) describes Raunigk’s case as “extremely questionable.”

“Egg donation and especially the transfer of more than one embryo should not have been allowed or performed in these circumstances, both on medical and ethical and moral grounds,” it says.

Raunigk, who has seven grandchildren, had negotiated exclusive rights to her story with German TV channel RTL.

News of her multiple pregnancy emerged in April, when Raunigk dismissed criticism that she was acting irresponsibly.

But she is not the first woman to raise a storm about IVF ethics.

One prominent case was Carmen Bousada, a single Spanish woman who in 2006 had twin IVF boys at the age of 66, making her oldest woman at the time to become a mother.

She later admitted she had lied about her age to doctors, tell them she was 55.

After becoming a campaigner for the rights of older women to experience motherhood, Bousada died of cancer in 2009, leaving orphans aged two-and-a-half.

Another was Nadya Suleman, a 33-year-old Californian woman who was dubbed “octomum” after giving birth to octuplets. It later transpired she was a single mother of six other children under the age of eight.

Rogue clinics dangle offers of egg and sperm donation and cheap IVF rates, and pay commissions to intermediaries who bring in punters, the experts said.

“The outcome is this sort of thing, which is a disaster, and somebody, somewhere is making a lot of money,” said Balen.

“Like all technology, assisted reproduction can be used rightly or wrongly,” Shenfield observed.

Photo Credits : AFP

65-Year-Old Grandmother Gives Birth to Quadruplets

Annegret Raunigk, the 65-year-old German woman who was pregnant with quadruplets, has reportedly given birth.

According to ABC, the grandmother of TK (and mother of 13 children already) had three boys named Dries, Bence and Fjonn, and one girl named Neeta, who were born premature via C-section at 26 weeks in a Berlin hospital but have “good chances of surviving”.

“However the babies, in comparison with a normal birth in the 40th week, are not completely developed, so eventual complications can’t be ruled out,” the report read.

But, so far, so good. Raunigk and her new brood are reportedly being closely monitored. Raunigk previously made headlines when she had a baby at 55.

She became pregnant after undergoing several artificial insemination procedures in Ukraine, RTL said.

The channel has negotiated exclusive rights to the story and has followed the build-up to the births, although it said no filming was done in the hospital where the babies were born.

Ms Raunigk made headlines in April when the German press first reported that her latest artificial insemination attempt had resulted in a quadruple pregnancy.

At the time, she said she decided to try to have another child because her youngest daughter, who is nine, wanted a little brother or sister, according to RTL.


Woman dies after giving birth to quadruplets

A woman died hours after giving birth to quadruplets at a Phoenix hospital, a close friend of the family said Saturday.

 Erica Morales, 36, never got to hold her newborns before she passed away early Friday morning after a C-section surgery at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Nicole Todman said.

“They were transporting her from the surgery to whatever room, and she was still unconscious at that point. So, no, she never got to see them,” Todman said.

Morales was about seven months into her pregnancy when she delivered three girls and one boy Thursday, according to Todman. She has been one of the few able to visit the premature newborns and said they are doing well.

“They’re beautiful,” Todman said. “They have tubes in their mouths and their noses. They’ve got little monitors and wires all over their body.”

The infants will likely remain hospitalized for the next two months while doctors help them to get stronger and each reach a goal weight of 5 pounds, Todman said. Currently, they all weigh between just above 2 pounds to just above 3 pounds, she said.

Morales was initially hospitalized for high blood pressure. Complications ensued before Morales was taken into surgery, Todman said. She does not know what led to her passing.

“I don’t even care to know,” Todman said. “It doesn’t matter why. She’s still gone.”

Hospital spokeswoman Toni Eberhardt declined comment Saturday, but she released a statement from the hospital: “Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with the family during this very difficult time.”

Morales, a former real estate agent who more recently worked for the University of Phoenix, and her husband, Carlos, who works in manufacturing, had been trying to conceive a baby for two years, Todman said. She said Morales tried everything from acupuncture to fertility treatments. Morales suffered a miscarriage before becoming pregnant last June.

Todman, who has been best friends with Morales since childhood, said Morales was more nervous about being a new mother than raising four children at once. Because of her previous miscarriage, Morales was apprehensive about getting too excited about the babies’ arrival. She mainly focused on doing things correctly throughout her pregnancy such as eating enough, Todman said.

“Her focus of her pregnancy was to make sure she did everything to make sure they were healthy so she was able to bring them into this world — and she did,” Todman said.

On Friday, Todman started a GoFundMe fundraising website for Carlos Morales and the infants on Friday. The site had received more than $29,000 in donations as of Saturday afternoon.

“I’m so grateful for the overwhelming support and the wonderful comments, and so are Carlos and Sandra, Erica’s mother. They are so entirely grateful,” Todman said.