Thursday 14 December 2017

Sextuplets 'fighting for their lives'

Aislinn Laing

The first sextuplets born in England for more than 25 years were this morning "fighting for their lives" in hospital.

The six children were conceived with the help of fertility treatment by parents Vicky and Andy Lamb, both 31 and from Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

A team of doctors and nurses delivered the four girls and two boys 14 weeks before their due date on Friday May 14 at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. They remain under constant watch in hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Publicist Max Clifford, who is representing the family amid intense interest in the births, said they knew the odds were against all the babies surviving but were praying "for a small miracle".

"They are being well looked after but it's a very very critical time," he said.

Talking about when the couple might be able to take their babies home, Mr Clifford said: "It is a long way off. They are fighting for their lives, they are still critical."

The smallest child weighed only 1lb 5oz while the largest was only 1lb 15oz - the average baby weighs 7lb 5oz at birth.

Mr and Mrs Lamb, who have their own company specialising in health and safety, already have a five-year-old daughter, Gracie, who they also conceived using the fertility drug Clomid.

"Although Andy and Vicky have a little girl, they were absolutely thrilled that this has happened and they are just hoping and praying that everything is going to be ok but they realise that they are praying for a small miracle," he said.

"So far everything's going the way that they hoped and prayed it would but we have to wait and see. Everything at the moment is down to the surgeons, doctors, nurses and specialists who are doing such a wonderful job for them."

Sextuplets occur in just one in every 4.5million pregnancies and the births of the Lambs' has been meticulously planned over several weeks.

Dr Kenny McCormick, Consultant Neonatologist, said the next few days and weeks would be critical: "Babies that are born this early need a lot of specialist care.

"They are receiving round the clock intensive care and specialist nursing at the moment and their condition is constantly monitored."

While medical advances have made it possible for a much higher number of premature babies to survive, the last sextuplets known to have been born in England were delivered in 1983.

The Walton sisters were the world's first surviving all-girl sextuplets, born in Liverpool to Graham and Janet Walton.

Conceived following fertility treatment, the couple had spent years trying for children before Hannah, Lucy, Ruth, Sarah, Kate and Jenny were born.

Last year in the US Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets in California.

Later it emerged that she was a single mother who already had six children, all conceived through IVF.

In May last year in Ireland, sextuplets were born to Austin and Nuala Conway, who they called "beautiful little miracles".

The four baby boys and two girls, conceived naturally without the aid of IVF, were born in the space of five minutes.

Sixty days later, Kerrie Mae Conway, the youngest of the six, died in hospital.

They too were born 14 weeks premature and weighed from 1lb 7oz to 2lb 2oz.

Three years ago a Russian woman gave birth to quintuplets at the John Radcliffe.

Vavara Artamkin, 29-year-old music teacher, gave birth to Elizaveta, Alexandra, Nadezhda, Tatiana and Varvara 14 weeks early in November 2007.

They ranged in weight from 1lb 13oz to 2lb 2oz after being delivered by Caesarean section by a team of 18 doctors and nurses.

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