A Russian mother has given birth to quintuplets despite opposition from doctors who wanted her to abort some of them. Varvara Artamkin and her husband Dimitri had to travel to England in order to keep all of their children.
She and her husband Dimitri, a 28 year-old math professor, were told by Russian doctors that they would not treat Varvara during her pregnancy unless she aborted two or three of her babies. The doctors said the 'selective terminations,' as the abortions are called, were essential to giving the remaining babies a chance of survival.
Mr. Artamkin's grandmother, Irina, 74, speaking from her home in Moscow, described their plight: "They went to several maternity hospitals to ask them to take her on but the doctors kept saying they would only accept her on the condition that she terminated two or three of the babies."
Irina continued: "Our families are very religious people - Varvara's father is an archpriest - and the church teaches that abortion is murder. Varvara and Dimitri wanted all their babies and they would not agree to such a condition."
The expecting parents were too poor to seek treatment abroad, but Vavara's father, a senior priest in the Russian Orthodox Church, secured anonymous benefactors in Oxford who are paying the bill for the care of Varvara and all her new daughters.
Dimitri's sister, Maria, 24, said: "For me, that they were born alive was a miracle. It was all in God's hands and I was elated. We will go to church and light a candle for each baby."
Varvara gave birth in an Oxford hospital a week ago to five daughters 14 weeks pre-mature. As of Thursday, all of the newborns were said to be doing "very well."