By Calvin Palmer
A woman gave birth to sextuplets by Cesarean section today at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital in Northern Ireland.
The four girls and two boys were delivered in just five minutes and weighed between 1lb 7oz and 2lb 2oz.
Their condition in intensive care at the Belfast hospital is described as “as good as could be expected” after being born 14 weeks early.
Doctors confirmed they were not conceived through IVF treatment.
The deliveries occurred between 11:19 a.m. to 11:24 a.m. and involved 30 medical staff led by neonatal consultant Dr Clifford Mayes.
It is believed to be the first case of sextuplets in Northern Ireland and the first in the United Kingdom since 1993.
Mayes said: “This is both a happy time and a potentially difficult time.
“This pregnancy isn’t the result of IVF. It is an extraordinary thing to have witnessed but you are also struck by the fact that there are little babies in intensive care.
“We have planned very carefully for today and today went as well as we had hoped it would. The care of the babies would be the care we would normally expect for any baby.”
Midwifery sister Patricia Denvir said the birth had gone “very well”.
“The mother was very composed — under a very stressful situation,” she said. “Both parents were very composed and they dealt with it very well.
“It is a very emotional time but it’s also very stressful for all concerned.”
A hospital spokesperson said they had contingency plans in place for such a rare event, and were working with colleagues across Northern Ireland to ensure they could cope with the extra demand placed on resources.
The birth of sextuplets is rare, occurring in about one out of 4.5 million pregnancies.