McCaughey septuplets

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The McCaughey septuplets, born on [1]November 19, 1997 (age 19), are a set of septuplets born to Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey in Des Moines, Iowa, United States.


They were born nine weeks prematurely in Des Moines to Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey (pronounced "McCoy"), residents of the nearby town of Carlisle, Iowa. They include four males and three females. Their older sister, Mikayla Marie, was born on (1996-01-03) January 3, 1996 (age 21).[2]

Baby order Sex Birth weight Name
A Boy 3 lb 4 oz (1.5 kg) Kenneth (Kenny) Robert
B Girl 2 lb 11 oz (1.2 kg) Alexis May
C Girl 2 lb 10 oz (1.2 kg) Natalie Sue
D Girl 2 lb 5 oz (1.0 kg) Kelsey Ann
E Boy 3 lb 3 oz (1.4 kg) Nathan Roy
F Boy 2 lb 14 oz (1.3 kg) Brandon James
G Boy 2 lb 15 oz (1.3 kg) Joel

While under treatment with ovulation-stimulating Metrodin for infertility,[3] Bobbi McCaughey became pregnant with seven babies. The McCaugheys declined selective reduction to reduce the number of infants, saying that they would "put it in God's hands". The obstetricians primarily responsible for the medical care of the babies were Dr. Karen Drake and Dr. Paula Mahone.

Health issues[edit]

  • Alexis: Her cerebral palsy has damaged her speech ability and cognitive skills. She needs to use a walker to get around. She had difficulty swallowing and suffered from severe acid reflux for many years. She no longer uses a feeding tube.
  • Natalie: Because of severe acid reflux, she was fed through a tube for the first four years of her life.
  • Nathan: Nathan also has speech and cognitive complications due to his cerebral palsy. He used a walker but had spinal surgery in November, 2005, in order to improve his walking abilities.[3]

Public response[edit]

The birth attracted significant media attention, both positive and negative, including a feature in Time magazine in December 1997.[4]

"In the beginning, for every ten letters we would get that were happy for us, we'd get one letter accusing us of exploiting the kids and being selfish to waste the world's resources on a family this big," said Bobbi in a 2007 interview. "Our neighbors never gawked. Here in Carlisle they gave us privacy. But we had complete strangers come around to the back door, knock, and ask if they could hold a baby."[5]

The McCaugheys were the recipients of many generous donations, including a 5500 ft² (511 m²) house, a van and diapers for the first two years, as well as nanny services, clothes, and even the State of Iowa offering full college scholarships to any state university in Iowa upon their maturity and graduation from high school, also by the Hannibal–LaGrange University in Missouri. President Bill Clinton personally telephoned Mr. and Mrs. McCaughey to wish them his congratulations.

The surviving Dionne quintuplets- Yvonne Dionne, Annette Allard, and Cecile Langlois- wrote a letter warning the parents to keep the septuplets out of the public eye and not allow them to fall into the same pitfalls as their parents did, but wished them the best of luck in raising them and their personal congratulations.[6]

By the time of the septuplets' tenth birthday in 2007, the family was declining most requests for interviews, other than annual stories with KCCI (the Des Moines CBS affiliate) and Ladies' Home Journal.[7] Bobbi McCaughey has noted that the level of media attention does not necessarily mean they have granted many interviews, saying, "There was all kinds of stuff in the papers early on but they never actually interviewed us. Most of it is one paper quoting another."[5][8]

Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey occasionally speak at pro-life events and continue to oppose selective reduction. Bobbi has been famously quoted as saying, "Well, come to our house, and tell me which four I shouldn't have had!" The family continues to attend a Baptist church in West Des Moines where Kenny serves as a deacon.[5] In 2010, TLC made a documentary for the septuplets' thirteenth birthday that aired on December 28, 2010.

The septuplets graduated from high school in May 2016.[9] Having reached maturity, Natalie, Kelsey, Nathan and Joel took up on the scholarships offered by private Hannibal-LaGrange University in Hannibal, Missouri, Kenny and Alexis chose to stay in the Des Moines area and attend Des Moines Area Community College, and Brandon enlisted in the United States Army.[10]


External links[edit]