Multiple births are becoming more and more common as people use fertility treatments to achieve pregnancy. Why do people need fertility treatments these days? One reason is a decline in sperm counts. In certain cases plunging sperm counts can be attributed to exposure to pollutants. A recent California study found lowered sperm counts among men exposed to common leaves of BPA, a plasticizer sometimes found in water bottles and food cans.
More about the risks of BPA and lowered sperm counts here: http://blogs.edf.org/nanotechnology/2010/10/28/hitting-em-where-it-hurts-bpa-reduces-sperm-quantity-and-quality-in-male-workers/
And here is how the McGhee family now lives, thanks to their posting on Facebook:
One bedroom, three cribs, six babies.
The quarters are close but manageable. Figuring out how to provide enough diapers, clothing and a vehicle that can accommodate six infant car seats is another matter.
"We have the love," Rozonno McGhee said, smiling yesterday at his wife, Mia. "We've always had that part."
Mr. and Mrs. McGhee were high-school sweethearts at Linden-McKinley who relied on each other to navigate a difficult adolescence in a tough neighborhood. He was 20 and she was 18 when they married 11 years ago, their only dream to stay together and raise a family.
After unsuccessful attempts to have children, the North Side couple turned to fertility drugs. Mrs. McGhee gave birth to twins prematurely last year, and both infants died.
When an ultrasound during her next pregnancy revealed multiple heartbeats, she felt devastated again.
"They advised us to do the selective reduction," she said. "We couldn't."
The McGhees knew they would struggle to afford an instant family of eight. He is a carpet- and upholstery-cleaner; she is leaving her job at JPMorgan Chase to care for the babies.
The halving of their income comes at a time when the community and corporate support that used to accompany multiple births seems to be wearing thin.
Mrs. McGhee said Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee sent six Buckeyes onesies, and the Columbus City Council gave them a certificate honoring the city's first – and Ohio's second – set of sextuplets.
Mr. McGhee, who is trying to grow his own carpet-cleaning business, said he doesn't like seeking help. But he knows that Rozonno Jr., Isaac, Josiah, Elijah, Madison and Olivia don't care about pride.
He said a woman recently asked how his family was adjusting to all the attention. When he said there hadn't been any, "she cried," Mr. McGhee said. "She couldn't believe it."
Mrs. McGhee said she is staying positive. The babies are healthy, and she trusts that the hard times are temporary.
"I'm happy," she said. "I have a family."
Thanks to Ma'at Htp of Columbus Ohio for publicizing their story.