In what is believed to be a world first, a surrogate mother has given birth to quintuplets.
The babies were born this week at a Phoenix hospital, and all five boys are said to be in good health following the Caesarian delivery.
Each weighed between 3 pounds 7 ounces and 3 pounds 15 ounces, surrogate Teresa Anderson gained more than 80 pounds during the 33-week pregnancy. The boys, are the biological children of an Arizona couple who had tried unsuccessfully for a decade to start a family.
Biological mother Luisa Gonzalez says Anderson has given her and her husband Enrique Moreno their dream.
All five will remain in a neonatal intensive care unit for several days, the smallest baby, has a congenital heart defect that will require surgery at some stage.
Surrogate Teresa Anderson, a 25-year-old mother and nursing student from Mesa, Ariz., said she originally decided to become a surrogate in hopes of earning $15,000 for her own family and met Gonzalez, 32, and Moreno, 34, through a Web site. She was implanted with embryos created in a laboratory from the couple's eggs and sperm in September and, after learning she was carrying quintuplets, decided not to accept money from the couple because she realized they would need it to raise their unexpectedly outsized family.
Anderson has had four successful pregnancies which was an important factor in a pregnancy that went unusually smoothly for one involving quintuplets says her doctor, Phoenix perinatologist John Elliott. Both Anderson and Gonzalez cannot remember being warned that their fertility treatments could trigger multiple births, which carry serious health risks.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines recommends that for patients under the age of 35, no more than two embryos should be implanted, and possibly no more than one. Gonzalez's fertility specialist implanted five embryos in Anderson's womb.
But the loose guidelines also urge doctors to decide each case following their own research and their patient's histories and experts say doctors often implant extra embryos to improve the chance of success and avoid repeated costly in vitro processes.
It had originally been hoped to extend the pregnancy to 34 weeks but Anderson was admitted to the hospital last week after feeling early contractions and developing pre-eclampsia.