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The World’s First Surviving Septuplets – 20 Years Later


The World’s First Surviving Septuplets – 20 Years Later


Having twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets seems like a scary and exciting proposition all at once. But imagine giving birth to septuplets! Yeah, seven children to raise. A couple might be shocked once they found out they were giving birth to seven babies at once. Just having twins or triplets can be a shock, but having seven can be a real miracle since all of these kinds of pregnancies are rare. Septuplets are extremely rare. This is the story of Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey.

The McCaughey family hails from Des Moines, Iowa in the United States, which is a quite corn field laden midwest state. Their first miracle came with the birth of their first daughter, Mikayla Marie, who was born in 1996. This first birth was actually a miracle too because the couple experienced problems with fertility due to Bobbi’s failing pituitary gland at the time. This glad helps control the functions of the body by creating hormones and sending them to the bloodstream. Mikayla was born nonetheless and the couple really wanted a larger family so they decided to take part in fertility treatment. They had no idea how successful their little biological mission was going to be.

Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey consider their first daughter Mikayla Marie just as much a miracle as the amazing septuplets they gave birth to later on.

Some interesting facts about twins, triplets and birth of multiples

Having the simultaneous birth of more than one baby is a biological feat of no small proportion. It happens when an egg divides to create multiple embryos (something that is believed to be completely random and is rare to happen at all) or when sperm happens to fertilize more eggs than just one in the womb area. When eggs split into multiple embryo, babies of the litter will share genetic materials, which is how you end up with identical twins and so forth. If more than a single egg is fertilized by the sperm, these babies won’t share all the same genetic material. This results in a fraternal birth as it is called. Chances of having muliples of some sort can be influenced by a variety of different factors. Its also kind of like winning the lottery for birth.


Data from the last approximately 30 years has shown that the statistical probability of having an identical pair of twins is about 3.5 for every 1,000 birth around the world. Those are some pretty slim odds, but only around 12-18 in 1,000 people are actually twins that were conceived naturally. In the United States alone, twins are born in about 35 out of 1,000 births. Fraternal births increased by around 77 percent thanks to fertility treatments. Fertility treatments may actually boost the chances of a couple having multiple births, just like Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey. Hereditary factors may also play a role in muliple births.

Fertility treatment may boost the chances of multiple births to occur

The McCaughey family really were desperate to add members to their small family, so they opted for modern medicine to help solve the problem. The fertility medicine and treatments helped with ovulation necessary for anyone with a fertility problem to conceive children, including Bobbi. After Bobbi received the treatments, she began going for check ups and scans and eventually Bobbi was shown to be carrying children. She was pregnant! She was surprised but even more so to find out that she was carrying septuplets, 7 babies, in her womb. On occasion, more than one embryo is created so doctors expect that to possibly happen, but seven suprised everybody. Doctors sometimes seek to selectively reduce the embryos to increase survival chances of embryos but the family decided to leave it to God.

The family was featured on the magazine covers of TIME and Newsweek.

Seven Little Angels

It all took place on November 19, 1997. They were born nine weeks early. Doctors performed a cesarean section. All the babies were born healthy. They were each born within six minutes of each other. They weighed a range between 2 lbs, 5oz and 3 lbs, 4oz. The world’s first surviving septuplets captures America’s attention and their hearts. Everyone wondered their fate.

The McCaughey’s septuplets are alive and well

All of the children made it through the tough delivery. They consisted of four boys and three girls. The McCaughey family must have had one hard time trying to get names for all their newly arrived children. But the names were ready at birth, and included Kenny Robert, Brandon James, Nathan Roy, Natalie Sue, Alexis May, Kelsey Ann, and Joel Steven in order of each ones birth.

The couple had to go through 52 diapers and 42 baby bottles everyday

The McCaughey family reportedly received many donations from people wishing them well. They received diapers, a vehicle, even a house! There were other donations too.

News of their birth made the McCaughey family famous. They were adorned with a feature story in TIME Magazine. Even President Bill Clinton reached out to the family. The McCaughey’s even met President George Bush (Sr.) and also appeared on television for a taping of The Oprah Winfrey show in Chicago.

It wasn’t all roses though. Even though these kids were born healthy, Alexis and Nathan did have difficulties with walking because they were born with a condition called cerebral palsy. This condition effects motor skills, coordination and movement of the body. Nathan did eventually teach himself to walk. Alexis walks using a walker’s help. These are the world’s first septuplets that survived through pregnancy and lived through infancy.

Celebrating a Thirteenth Birthday

Life as Teens

The family made sure the media could not interfere in the normal lives of their children and made sure distance was maintained. They were able to grow up with a normal existence, going to Carlisle High School in Carlisle in 2012. The kids were even part of the high school band, which made their parents proud.

High School Graduation

Each child felt like high school was mostly normal and all siblings graduated graduated in 2016. They had various goals and dreams for themselves.

McCaughey septuplets take a photo with the Principal of Carlisle High School in May 2016.

The McCaughey Septuplets a Whole 20 Years Later

Now it has been 20 years since the McCaughey septuplets were born. They are still thriving and living life. Each have gone along different career paths, showing that each is still an individual. Alexis and Natalie still want to become teachers. Kenny is ambitious and interested in the construction industry. The computer geeks of the siblings are Joel and Nathan, who are both majoring in computer science. Brandon is a United States Army ranger. Kelsey is passionate about music and is seeking a career there. Mikayla, the firstborn, is married and has her own child.

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