Sextuplets Doing Well After Couple Refuses Abortion Suggestion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sextuplets Doing Well After Couple Refuses Abortion Suggestion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 14, 2004

Granite City, MO ( — An Illinois couple and their six new babies are doing well, despite refusing suggestions from doctors that they should have considered aborting one or more of the children before birth to improve the chances for the rest.

"It’s hasn’t hit them like it hasn’t hit us, either," Tina Otten told the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat newspaper.

Otten, who is 29, gave birth by Cesarean section on Friday at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, Missouri. The babies were born about 3 seconds to a minute apart, starting at about 2:45 in the morning.

Their names? Rileigh, Jacob, Isabella, Joshua, Madison and Tyler.

The sextuplet pregnancy came about as a result of a hormone injection in a fertility treatment. The hormones, which are normally produced by the pituitary gland, stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs.

The couple had used fertility treatments in the past and had two children as a result. They were expecting another single pregnancy but weren’t prepared for six.

"We figured maybe twins, triplets. We never imagined six," said the babies’ father, Ron Otten.

When doctors advised the couple to consider "selective reduction" — aborting one or more of the babies to improve the odds that the rest would survive and be healthy — the Ottens categorically rejected the idea.

"We asked them not to even discuss it with us again," Ron Otten told the Belleville paper. "We can’t play God.”

"It wasn’t our choice," Tina Otten says of the multiple pregnancy. "God put them there and that’s where they’re going to stay."

"They talked and cried over it a lot," Johnnie Reckert, Tina’s father, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. "They knew the babies were already alive. There was no way they could do that."

Dr. Sue Moore, a high-risk pregnancy doctor who served as Tina’s obstetrician, said "selective reduction" is legal in Missouri but that no hospital in the state performs any.

"It’s very controversial because it falls in the scope of abortion," Moore told the Illinois paper.

The babies, born during the 30th week of pregnancy, are still listed in critical condition but doing well. They are expected to leave the hospital in six weeks.

Thirty-seven doctors and nurses attended the birth that observers described as "amazingly calm."

The Ottens are already receiving offers of help with everything from diapers to babysitting.

The Otten Family Benefit Fund has been established at the Bank of Edwardsville, P.O. Box 899, Edwardsville, IL 62025.