Sextuplets born to Kansas couple 'are doing beautifully'

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An American woman has given birth to sextuplets after taking fertility drugs.

The three boys and three girls, delivered nine weeks early, appeared to be healthy, doctors at the hospital in Wichita, Kansas said.

The woman, Sondra Headrick, 33, had been in the hospital for more than three months. She and her husband Eldon, 32, live in Rago – about 40 miles south-west of Wichita – which until Saturday had a population of 12. Only 96 sets of sextuplets have been born worldwide since recording began in the early 1900s.

A 24-member medical team delivered the babies at the weekend because doctors feared for the health of one of the children. Four were on a respirator on Saturday night and the other two were on oxygen, but doctors said they were all doing well.

Each baby weighed between 1.18kg (2lb 10oz)and 1.66kg (3lb 1oz). They all squealed when they were born by Cesarean section, said Dr Katherine Schooley of the Via Christi Regional Medical Centre-St Joseph in Wichita.

Mrs Headrick carried the children for 31 weeks. Doctors had hoped she would carry them for at least 26 or 27 weeks.

"It is a miracle the mother was able to hold on to the babies as long as she did," Dr Schooley said. "I anticipate all the babies are going to do very beautifully."

The babies – named Ethan Roy, Melissa Sue, Grant Douglas, Sean Edward, Jaycie Linette, and Danielle Patrice – will remain in hospital for four to six weeks. Their mother is expected to go home in the next few days.

Mrs Headrick and her husband already have one daughter, Aubrianna, four, and they used fertility drugs last summer to conceive.

Doctors had told the couple the pregnancy could be aborted or reduced by four, giving the two remaining foetuses a better chance of survival.

Mrs Headrick said abortion was not a choice. She and her husband had already seen six heartbeats flickering on the hospital's video monitor. "You try as a mother not to get attached to the babies at that stage," Mrs Headrick said. "But it's impossible." (AP)