A 29-year-old woman who bore sextuplets three years ago, gave birth today to octuplets, but one of the infants died seven hours after delivery, hospital authorities said.
Doctors at the Naples Hospital for Incurables said Pasqualina Chianese, the 29-year-old wife of an insurance clerk, gave birth to three boys and five girls after undergoing lengthy treatment for infertility.
The eight babies, born in 20 minutes, were two months premature and ranged in weight at birth from 15 ounces to two pounds. The girl who died was the smallest of the eight.
"It's the will of God," the babies' mother said today after being wheeled from the delivery room."I wanted to have children since 1976 when the six from my first delivery died. I didn't think I'd ever have more than that."
The sextuplets born to the Chianese couple in 1976 all died within hours of birth.
A hospital spokesman said today the octuplets' mother was in good physical condition but despondent about the possibility that all or some of the surviving seven infants might die.
The surviving babies were rushed to auxiliary incubator facilities at other Naples hospitals. An attending doctor said he had "some hope" the two largest of the infants would live.
A world record would be set if all seven survive. The previous highest number of surviving children in a multiple birth was six -- recorded once in Australia in 1971 and in South Africa in 1974, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.