By Edel O’Connell
Wednesday October 06 2010
THE father of an Irish woman whose partner is pregnant with quintuplets has said his biggest concern now is for the health of the mother and babies.
Paul Nolan, from Waterford, said the family were shocked when they heard the news that the Australian partner of their 21-year-old daughter Rosemary was pregnant with quins.
The Irish woman and her partner, Melissa Keevers (27), made headlines by becoming the world’s first same-sex couple to be pregnant with quintuplets.
Ms Nolan, from Waterford, who is herself a twin, already has a one-year-old daughter, Lilly, with her partner.
The pair met in Brisbane when Ms Nolan left Ireland in 2008 to travel around Australia.
Ms Keevers became pregnant with quintuplets some months back, conceived via donor insemination using sperm from an anonymous American donor.
Mr Nolan said last night he has been in constant contact with his daughter since the announcement.
“They already have one child and they decided to have another, and little did they know they would end up with five. Our biggest concern right now is for the health of mum and the babies, and that they make it through the full term without any complications,” he said.
Last night, the doctor who hopes to deliver the quintuplets said their hearts were beating strongly in the womb.
Obstetrician Dr Glen Gardner said the babies had the best chance of survival because, unusually and unlike other quins, these babies were each in their individual sacs.
“They are at lower risk if they have their own little unit for themselves,” he added, speaking at his hospital in Brisbane.
“However, the sheer number of babies in this case makes the risk very much higher in this pregnancy,” he said.
The surprise was heightened by the fact that Ms Keevers did not have IVF, which is associated with increasing the chance of multiple pregnancy.
lt is understood that the odds of Ms Keevers conceiving quintuplets were 65 million to one.
The donor has signed away any rights to the children and will never meet them.
Ms Nolan told Australian magazine ‘Woman’s Day’: “People don’t know whether to congratulate us or commiserate. But we think it’s a miracle and we couldn’t be happier.
“We know that it’s a risk, and we had the option to terminate one or more, but how can you choose?
“Nature decided to give us these babies so nature can decide for us,” she added.
Doctors estimate they will deliver the children at around 30 weeks’ gestation, which falls at the end of December.
The couple have estimated that they will need 70 nappies each day for the five babies and will have to import a special six-seater pram from America to get them around.
– Edel O’Connell
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