World’s First Surviving Sextuplets - 20 Years Later

Date March 28, 2018

When Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey had their first daughter in 1996, they plausibly didn’t think of what was next in store for them. Two years later, they’re celebrating the birthdays of their setuplets on the Oprah show.

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The origin story

Having a baby is not unusual, but having seven at once is extremely rare. What’s even more extraordinary, is for all of those children to survive the journey of birth.

Bobbie and Kenny had been trying to have a child and were having difficulty conceiving. After trying a fertility drug, they discovered that they'd accidentally over-corrected mother nature by producing not just one, but seven fetuses.

Now, it probably goes without explaining that the human body isn’t built to give birth to litters, so doctors warned the couple that it was highly unlikely that all the babies would make it to full-term. In fact, up until that point, there’d never been a successful septuplet birth.

The McCaugheys were told that aborting some of the fetuses would increase the odds of survival for the others, but the couple refused, saying their religious beliefs would not allow an abortion. In November of 1997, all seven babies were born. They were nine weeks premature, but otherwise healthy.

Growing up together.

18 years later, they've all graduated from high school together, but it had never been easy for the family.

Growing up, two of them, Alexis and Nathan, suffered from cerebral palsy. The McCaughey’s also had luck on their side—the seven-bedroom house that they lived in was donated to them, and they received many other gifts and donations.

This hasn’t stopped Kenny and Bobbi from teaching the children the correct morals, though—that you should work hard and shouldn’t expect to get things for free.

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Future plans

The kids all have dreams of their own ranging from teaching to computer science, and they have already started the steps towards their futures.

Four of them—Kelsey, Nathan, Joel, and Natalie—were accepted to Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri. The same school offered all seven children free tuition, shortly after they were born. While one of the boys, Brandon, chose to enlist in the U.S. Army, Alexis and Kenneth decided to attend Des Moines Area Community College, which is close to their home.

They were excited to be setting off on their own, ut would miss each other’s companionship. A 2015 interview with TODAY had Bobbi emotionally looking back on her and her family’s lives.

No doubt they will stay close as they move into adulthood and Bobbi and Kenny gets used to having an empty nest.

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