Accuracy in Infertility Reporting

A story of a couple in North Carolina was picked up Nationally in the last two days or so and today one of my local news channels posted it on their Facebook page.  If the story has not reached you, it is about a couple who was trying for their third child and according to the article had been trying for 9 months and she had been diagnosed with PCOS.   The article says that the couple had taken fertility drugs and was considering adoption when they got the “surprise” that she was pregnant.  And all of that is completely fine, but then most of the versions of this article I have found (Except for USA today) specifically say “Although there was just ONE egg, at the six week ultra sound the doctors told her she might be carrying six babies.”  As it turns out there were actually 7, which was discovered a few weeks later.  From everything I know about reproductive science, the only way this would be possible is if the ONE egg split 7 times making IDENTICAL septuplets.  I cannot even imagine what the statistics of this would be, but the article goes on to say that one baby was miscarried, a boy.  Shortly after the couple discovered that the remaining six babies were all girls, therefore there is absolutely no way that there could have been only one egg because identical multiples cannot be of the opposite sex.

By all means if I am missing something here please let me know what it is, but its more likely that this is just inaccurately reported.  I hope, with all my heart, that they did not lie about the single egg.

So why am I so up in arms about this most likely very inaccurate reporting?  Because this is the type of article that people like to read and pass judgement….people I know.   This is the kind of thing that puts false ideas in the heads of the uneducated fertile population about infertility.  We will probably never know what really transpired to impregnate her with seven babies.  Maybe it was mismanagement of treatment, or maybe it wasn’t.  I am not going to judge.  Things happen.  But I do wish that the article was up front about what happened.  If I was in the public spotlight and wanted to advocate for the infertility community I would sure as hell be honest and make sure that whoever was reporting the story was honest as well.  The last thing I need during all of this stress is a misguided friend or family member telling me that I can get pregnant with septuplets with ONE egg.

I am probably way more worked up about this than I should be, but I had to get it off my chest.



6 thoughts on “Accuracy in Infertility Reporting

  1. That is odd. I wonder if her doctor thought at the time that there was just one egg…or one egg that was of mature size but as it turns out he was obviously wrong? It sounds to me like whoever did your ultrasound before the trigger or IUI or whatever, obviously didn’t count enough eggs… yikes!

  2. Of course I googled the story after reading your post and found an update that one of the babies she miscarried at 12 weeks, then she delivered the remaining 6 at 21 weeks and they all died within two hours. What a tragic story.

    I will say though, I think it would be virtually impossible for one egg to split that many times!!

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