Surrogate Mother Gives Birth to Quintuplets in Arizona

Teresa Anderson gazes at one of the five babies she delivered yesterday in Phoenix.
Teresa Anderson gazes at one of the five babies she delivered yesterday in Phoenix. (By Dave Cruz -- Associated Press)
By Amy Argetsinger
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 27, 2005

LOS ANGELES, April 26 -- A woman believed to be the first surrogate mother to carry quintuplets gave birth to them early Tuesday at a Phoenix hospital, officials there said.

All five boys -- the biological children of a Gilbert, Ariz., couple that had tried for a decade to start a family -- were said to be in good health.

Each weighed between 3 pounds 7 ounces and 3 pounds 15 ounces, meaning that by the time she delivered by Caesarean section, surrogate Teresa Anderson had been carrying more than 18 and a half pounds of baby. She gained more than 80 pounds during the 33-week pregnancy.

"She has given me my dream; she has given us our family," biological mother Luisa Gonzalez said in a statement released by Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. She and her husband, Enrique Moreno, had chosen their names weeks ago: Enrique, Jorge, Gabriel, Javier and Victor.

Javier, the smallest, has a congenital heart defect that doctors originally anticipated would require surgery within minutes of his birth. However, hospital spokeswoman Hollie Costello said Tuesday morning the boy is doing much better than expected and that physicians have decided to wait a few days before operating. All five will remain in a neonatal intensive care unit for several days.

Anderson, a 25-year-old mother and nursing student from Mesa, Ariz., said she originally decided to become a surrogate in hopes of earning $15,000 for her family. She met Gonzalez, 32, and Moreno, 34, through an ad on a surrogacy Web site and in September was implanted with embryos produced in a laboratory from the couple's eggs and sperm.

However, after learning she was carrying quintuplets, Anderson said she decided not to accept money from the couple -- a landscaper and a homemaker -- because she realized they would need it to raise their unexpectedly outsize family.

Anderson was a veteran of four successful pregnancies, which her doctor, Phoenix perinatologist John Elliott, said was a factor in a pregnancy that went unusually smoothly for one involving quintuplets.

Last year, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine issued new guidelines recommending that for patients younger than 35, no more than two embryos should be implanted, and possibly no more than one. Gonzalez's fertility specialist implanted five embryos in Anderson's womb. However, the loose guidelines also urge doctors to decide each case following their own research and their patient's history.

According to hospital officials, Anderson said just minutes after the delivery that she felt great. "It was just a wonderful blessing to see those babies and hear their cries."

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