Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Quadruplets and Quintuplets

For those of us undergoing/contemplating/working towards fertility treatment, multiples in pregnancy are a big concern. 35% of pregnancy acheived via fertility treatment (medication, IUI, IVF) result in a multiples pregnancy. Most of these pregnancies conclude in premature births. This may sound like those undergoing fertility treatment are irresponsible, but that is not necessarily the case. Considering very few insurance companies will cover IF treatment and IVF is around $15,000 to $20,000 a pop, women undergoing this procedure are simply hoping to give themselves the best opportunity of achieving pregnancy. With an IVF success rate of around 35% to 40% for achieving pregnancy and only 45% to 53% of these resulting in live births, who can blame a person undergoing this treatment for attempting to give themself the absolute best chance possible?

But, as interesting as that is and as much a case it is for requiring insurance companies to cover infertility treatment (which, I might add, only adds approximately $0.16 to the premium of insurance policies - but that's a post for another time), that is not what this post is about. No, in this post, I would like to tell you about two very interesting cases of multiples. The first of these is the story of a set of identical quadruplets and the second is the story of a set of identical quintuplets.

The quadruplets are known by the fictitious name Genain. You may be wondering why their name is fictitious and what makes them important enough for me to blog about them. Well, both of these questions can be answered with the same response: in addition to being identical quadruplets, all four sisters were diagnosed with schizophrenia. There was a long history of mental illness in their father's family, thus indicating that genetics played a major part in the quadruplets' schizophrenia.

Not a lot of information on that story, but I found it interesting.

I do have a little more information on the quintuplets. Also girls, the Dionne quintuplets were the first set of quints to survive infancy. They were born in Ontario, Canada in 1934 and were identical quintuplets. Their mother had suspected she may be carrying twins, but the quints were a surprise to everyone. The girls were not expected to live, but live they did! At four months old, the Ontario government intervened and declared their parents incompetent to care for them and the Ontario government took custody of the girls. Whether the parents were incompetent or not remains to be seen, but the true reason behind the desire of the Ontario government to be guardians of the girls was the interest they invoked in the public and tourist attraction they became. It was extremely profitable for the Ontario government to have the girls in their custody.

The Dionne Quintuplets

When the girls were 9-years-old, their parents won back custody, however, in their adult years, the surviving sisters (two of the girls passed away before middle-adulthood - one from suffocating during a seizure, the other from a blood clot to the brain) recounted that their parents were very resentful of the "trouble" the girls had caused due to their existence. Three of the girls married; two had children of their own (including a set of twins born to Cecile). There are currently two of the sisters still living.

It's interesting what the unusual inspires, is it not?


Kakunaa said...

Did you see the article or whatever it was written in Canada regarding this issue???

Lynn said...

You mean the article about them suing the Ontario government in 2007 for the way they were used? I did read that one. I think they should have sued the government! They were used and manipulated. Very poor way to treat children.

Kristin said...

i know more recently there was a set of African-American identical quadruplet boys. I can't even imagine going through a pregnancy carrying that many babies.

Ms2Mrs..and back to Ms said...

I found your blog bc of ICLW. I found this post to be really interesting. I work in bio-medical ethics and will definitely be looking for more information regarding this case. Thanks for sharing.

Joanne said...

Interesting post. I didn't know that the Government took the awful! and so sad. Blessings, Joanne

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