When Emma Robbins fell pregnant with quadruplets, she was surprised but excited. Her surprise was to increase however, when she was encouraged by her consultant to terminate. When I saw this headline I wondered just how bad the complexities of the pregnancy could have been to make her doctor offer this advice straight after his congratulations.
A specialist told the couple that multiple pregnancies, where a woman becomes pregnant with two or more embryos, can cause complications including miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, cerebral palsy and death.
‘He [the consultant] told us the risks were so high it would put me in danger and the babies too,’ said Mrs Robbins in a Mail Online article.
He said we had three options. We could terminate the pregnancy, reduce the pregnancy by terminating some of the embryos, or carry on. Instinctively I clutched my bump. An overwhelming sense of love rushed through me and I told him that we were keeping all four of them.
The couple decided to keep all four children, and yet at every appointment they were asked again to reconsider. As Mrs Robbins put it,
Each time I went to the hospital it was all about the risks and asking me to consider aborting the twins to save the other two babies. But I knew that each time I looked at my surviving babies I’d also be thinking about the ones I’d lost. The thought of it broke my heart.
This article pointed out two things to me. On the downside, it shows me the ethical “softness” of the society we live in. I am not saying that multiple pregnancies aren’t a risky business, and they definitely could lead to complications for both mother and children. But this attitude of terminating a natural and overall healthy pregnancy because of potential — but currently non-existent — problems seems like an over-reaction — to say the least. This is especially so considering the high level of medical care that we enjoy in the developed world, which greatly alleviates the risks.
On a positive note however, this story highlights the beautiful strength and love of a mother, in the choice to risk her health, and possibly her life rather than hurt her children. Although the odds were against her, both in terms of conceiving and giving birth to quadruplets, all four babies were born happy and healthy on February 29th (of all dates!). The Robbins family do not regret their choice one bit.
“Never in a million years did we think we’d have four babies at once. I’d be lying if I said it was easy, but we’re so glad we never gave up on our babies,” said Mrs Robbins.