Fertility treAdding four to the family

By Sarah Luckert
February 2, 2011

I was four years old and turning five in 1996, the year my mother gave birth to my quadruplet brothers. Christopher John, Joseph Austin, Michael Patrick and Nicholas Ryan were miracles brought into the world with the help of fertility drugs.

Born at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Md., my brothers weighed between 3 pounds, 2 ounces, and 3 pounds, 13 ounces each. The average gestation period for quadruplets is 30 weeks. My mother successfully carried my brothers for 32 weeks.

Fertility drugs and treatments are known to be controversial topics. Some people believe that you are playing God by using these treatments. Risks are involved in pregnancies all together but pregnancies with fertility treatments have greater risks involved. Premature labor and delivery pose the greatest risk to a multiple pregnancy. For my family, fertility drugs were a neccessity for my parents who wanted a chance to have a family.

My mother was the recipient of the fertility drug Pergonal. Pergonal comes with a cost of $1,500 per treatment cycle, which was paid for with insurance. When my mother was unable to produce children at first she had to have one treatment done. The first treatment was a success the first time and as a result I was born. When my parents wanted more children the doctors suggested they use the drug again.

Sarah with her brothers, from top to bottom, Christopher, Joseph, Michael and Nicholas. -- submitted photos by sarah luckert

This time when my mother took the drug it did not take one cycle, instead it took four. When the fourth cycle was  pronounced successful my parents were told that the number of children they were going to have was six. Soon after that the number dropped from six to four. According to an article written in The Baltimore Sun, doctors had raised the possibility of reducing the number of embryos from four but both of my parents were against it.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, one in every 700,000 births results in quadruplets. On the street that my family and I live on, there are two sets of quadruplets and one set of triplets. People always joke and say that it must be something in the water. With the statistics for multiples it does seem as though there is a greater power at work here.

Now at the age of 14 years old, my brothers are first-year high school students. With my father being an identical twin, multiples seem to surround our lives. The joy of having so many siblings has been such a reward.

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Sarah Luckert

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