LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The California woman who astonished doctors earlier this week by giving birth to octuplets at a suburban Los Angeles hospital already has six other children, CBS News reported on Thursday.
The woman delivered six boys and two girls prematurely by Caesarean section on Monday, surprising doctors who had seen only seven babies in ultrasound images.
Officials at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Bellflower have declined to identify the mother or reveal if she received fertility treatments, which can increase the likelihood of multiple births.
There are no known cases of naturally conceived octuplets.
A Kaiser Permanente spokeswoman declined to comment on the CBS report but said that all eight babies were still in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit and doing well.
Five of the babies were feeding and six were breathing on their own, hospital spokeswoman Nancy Tovar-Huxen said. She said doctors had not yet determined when they could go home.
In reporting on “The Early Show” that the mother already has six other children, a CBS reporter who visited the woman’s Los Angeles-area home cited two unnamed acquaintances.
One of those acquaintances said that the mother lived with her parents and that two of her other children were twins.
The birth of the octuplets already has raised eyebrows, with fertility and reproductive experts saying that such high-risk pregnancies should be avoided.
“When we see something like this in the general fertility world, it gives us the heebie-jeebies,” Michael Tucker, an Atlanta-based clinical embryologist and leading researcher in fertility treatments, told the Los Angeles Times.
“If a medical practitioner had anything to do with it, there’s some degree of inappropriate medical therapy there,” the Times quoted him as saying.
The last octuplets known to have survived birth in the United States, six girls and two boys, were born in Houston in 1998. One of the babies, a girl, died one week later.
Editing by Jackie Frank