Allwood loses five remaining babies

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The Independent Online
Mandy Allwood, who defied medical advice to try to give birth to octuplets said last night that despite losing all eight babies she would "do exactly the same thing again".

Ms Allwood, who had been 19 weeks pregnant, was "distraught" and in floods of tears after she lost the remaining five babies yesterday.

Ms Allwood first became pregnant with octuplets after being prescribed fertility drugs, apparently without the knowledge of her partner Paul Hudson.

Medical experts advised her strongly against continuing the pregnancy with all eight foetuses.

They said the chances of all the babies being born alive and well were virtually non- existent and that risks to her health were also high.

Her case first came to light in August after she and Mr Hudson approached the publicist Max Clifford who sold her story to the News of the World.

That sparked a heated debate about both the ethics of fertility treatment and the role that the tabloid played in her decision to try to give birth to all eight babies.

Mr Clifford said last night: "We were all aware of the risks, and that this was a strong possibility or even probability, but it doesn't diminish the tragedy when it actually happens.

" All Mandy Allwood wanted to do was to have healthy babies, so it is obviously desperately sad that she has ended up with no babies at all.

"But she said to me that, given the position she was put in and the choice she was given, she would do exactly the same thing again," he added.

Ms Allwood decided after discussions with the tabloid to go against medical advice and in a deal reputedly worth pounds 350,000, told the News of the World , "I won't choose which ones should live and which ones should die."

It was said that the paper had negotiated a "sliding scale" deal with the couple, so that the more babies she gave birth to, the more money she received.

Health workers became concerned that this could have influenced Ms Allwood's decision to go ahead with such a high-risk pregnancy.

Dr Peter Bromwich, director of Midland Fertility Services said last night: "The News of the World did not behave as one would like. I do not think what they did was right. Maybe I am an idealist but money should not enter into clinical decisions."

But Phil Hall, editor of the News of the World said that it was "completely ridiculous" to say the contract had influenced Ms Allwood's decision. He told the BBC earlier this week that if Ms Allwood did lose all her babies the deal was not necessarily off.

"If as a result of losing her eight babies, she needs some medical care or she wants to go away for a couple of weeks' holiday then, certainly we might be prepared to talk to her about that," he said.

Last night he refused to comment further: "She has just lost her babies. This is not the time to discuss the situation. We must respect her grief. She and Paul are very very upset." Ms Allwood was being comforted by Mr Hudson last night.

Cathy Warwick, director of midwifery, said all those who had attended Ms Allwood were saddened at the tragedy and that the hospital chaplain and a midwife specialising in bereavement would now be involved in her care.