LIVERPOOL, England — A woman gave birth to seven babies Saturday, setting a British record for multiple births, a spokesman at Liverpool Maternity Hospital said.
The hospital said one boy died within half an hour of birth and that two boys and four girls were in intensive care. It said the babies were delivered nearly four months prematurely by Caesarean section.
Hospital General Manager Pearse Butler would not identify the parents but said they had no other children. The mother was reported in good condition.
The septuplets' mother had been taking a fertility drug, according to Press Assn., the British domestic news agency. It said the parents live in St. Helen's, northwest England but were referred to Liverpool because of its facilities.
Dr. Richard Cooke, the pediatrician in charge, said the babies were born after 26 to 27 weeks of gestation and were very ill, "but we are moderately hopeful. They will require a great deal of help."
The agency said the weight of the surviving babies range from 15 ounces to 1 pound, 10 ounces.
"Survival for the 15-ounce baby girl would be extraordinarily rare," Cooke said.
"Within a week we will have more idea about their survival chances. At the moment, it is impossible to predict because they are very tiny," Cooke said.
He said chances of survival for a single baby born at 25 or 26 weeks, with such a low birth weight, would be 50%.
The same hospital was the birthplace of sextuplets born Nov. 18, 1983 to Janet Walton. The babies, all girls, survived. Referring to the sextuplets born four years ago, Cooke added, "The Walton babies were born at 31 weeks so their chances were much higher."
Three boys and three girls born to Susan Coleman in London in November also survive.
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the highest number of babies reported at a single birth were decuplets--two boys and eight girls born at Bacacay, Brazil on April 22, 1946. It did not say how many survived.
But the highest number medically recorded were nonuplets--five boys and four girls born to Geraldine Broderick at Royal Hospital, Sydney, Australia on June 13, 1971. Two of the boys were stillborn and all the rest died.
Nine babies were also born to a patient at the University of Pennsylvania May 29, 1972, but all died, as did the nine born to a 30-year-old woman in Bagerhat, Bangladesh, in 1977.