Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Octuplets' mum 'already has six'

Home believed to be that of octuplets family
TV crews have descended on a house in Whittier, near Los Angeles

A Californian woman who gave birth to octuplets earlier this week already has six children, US media have reported.

The eight babies were delivered nine weeks early by Caesarean section in a hospital near Los Angeles on Monday.

The mother has not been named, but US media are quoting family members as saying she already has six other children, including twins.

Doctors say the eight babies are making good progress and are expected to stay in hospital for several more weeks.

Although the babies' mother asked doctors to keep her details confidential, a family acquaintance gave clues to her identity to the American CBS channel.

Shortly afterwards, media camped outside a house in Whittier, near Los Angeles.

'Sibling excitement'

The Associated Press news agency spoke to a man identified as the babies' grandfather, who was with two children. The children said they were excited to have eight new siblings, AP reported.

The Los Angeles Times later carried an interview with a woman identified as the babies' grandmother, who said her daughter already had six young children and never expected the fertility treatment she had received would result in eight more babies.

Kaiser Permanente Medical Center team
A huge team was needed to deliver the babies successfully

She said that doctors had given her daughter the option of reducing the number of embryos, but she had declined.

"What do you suggest she should have done? She refused to have them killed. That is a very painful thing," she said.

She added that her daughter expected a big challenge raising 14 children. The woman's husband is expected to return to Iraq where he works as a contractor, the LA Times reported.

Dr Karen Maples: 'She has been able to visit her eight newborns'

Officials at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, near Los Angeles, said the woman was already 12 weeks pregnant when she came to them. Despite media questioning, the hospital has declined to say whether the mother became pregnant through fertility treatments.

The eight babies were delivered by a team of 46 doctors, nurses and assistants in the space of five minutes.

The mother is the second person recorded in the US to have delivered a set of living octuplets.

The last octuplets known to have survived birth in the US were born in Houston in 1998. One of the babies died one week later.

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