The Deacon's Bench

A Catholic couple in the UK gave birth to sextuplets last month — the first set in the UK in more than a quarter century — and, according to news reports, they were told the best thing to do would be to abort some of the fetuses:

Nuala Conway, 26, and her husband Austin, from Dunmore in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, were warned about the high risks of carrying on with the multiple pregnancy.

At 14 weeks, they were given the option of terminating some of the unborn babies.

“They more or less advised us to,” she said.

“They told us about the risks we faced if we went ahead with the pregnancy.”

But the former fashion store sales supervisor, a devout Roman Catholic, insisted on putting her faith in God and pressing ahead despite the risks.

“These babies are a wonderful gift from God. Whatever God laid out for our lives we were taking it,” she said.

Ursula, Austin, Shannon, Karla, Eoghan and Kerrie, were born within just five minutes of each other in a Caesarean section delivery involving 30 medical staff at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

The six babies, who weighed between 1lb 7oz and 2lb 2oz at birth, are all stable but remain in intensive care.

Mr Conway, a kitchen fitter, who has suspended his job so that he can make the daily three-hour round trip to the hospital, said: “It has been like a roller coaster.

“The babies have been on and off antibiotics and ventilators. They are thriving really well but it’s hard to get a good day. There are so many of them there are always days when one or two will not be doing so well.”

The Conways, who were married in 2006, did not conceive the sextuplets – which occur in around one in 4.5 million pregnancies – through IVF.

However, after three years of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant doctors diagnosed her with polycystic ovaries and she was given a mild fertility drug to stimulate ovulation in October last year.

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