May 11, 2023 12:59
A Korean woman has given birth to quadruplets, three girls and one boy, after fertility treatment.
The parents are Cha Ji-hye (37), an employee of a conglomerate, and Song Li-won (39), a manager at BlueOval SK, the electric-car battery joint venture of SK On and Ford.
Doctors say the chances of having quadruplets naturally are one in a million pregnancies. Last year, a woman who worked for POSCO also had quadruplets, but it was not her first childbirth.
Cha's babies are two monozygotic girls who grew in the same egg while the others grew in different eggs. They were born on March 16 at just 33 weeks, two months earlier than the due date. The first was the smallest with a birth weight of a mere 0.9 kg, but she left hospital in good health last week.
Married in September 2020, Song and Cha visited a fertility clinic in June last year. The first pregnancy test suggested they were expecting twins, the second test a week later that they had triplets, and it took another test to reveal the startling reality.
Despite Korea's extremely low birthrate, the percentage of multiple births has hit a record high as more older women get married and go for fertility treatment.
According to Statistics Korea, 14,000 multiple babies were born in 2021, making up 5.4 percent of all 260,600 babies born that year, a five-fold increase from 1991.
Some 500 triplets or more account for 0.2 percent of all newborns in recent years. Mothers who expect multiple babies often have their labor induced early to avoid the risk of stillbirth or other complications, but Cha gave birth naturally.
In 2015, the number of embryos for IVF was reduced from five to three to protect mothers and babies from the risk of premature birth.
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