Sue Hartigan <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:


April 27, 1998 

SAN DIEGO -- One of the premature quadruplets born to a 55-year-old
single woman through the help of fertility treatments has apparently
died. 

KFMB-TV reported that a girl, weighing about 10 ounces, died Sunday.
Her two sisters and brother remained in critical care, the station
reported
Monday. 

Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, where the quadruplets were born about three
months premature on April 18, declined to confirm any information about
the
children or their mother, Merryl T. Fudel, who requested the
confidentiality. 

Fudel, thought to be the oldest woman in the United States to give birth
to
quadruplets, was reportedly released from the hospital Monday. She did
not
return a phone message left Monday by The Associated Press on her home
answering machine in San Diego. 

Dr. Cristo Zouves performed the in vitro fertilization treatments on
Fudel at
the Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco using donated eggs and
sperm. He
has said he did not intend for Fudel to have multiple births and was
devastated by the outcome. 

"This is a disaster and the very thing we strive not to have happen,"
said
Zouves, adding that patients are urged to abort when there are multiple
fetuses in order to improve the chances of a surviving baby. 

He said his clinic does not discriminate on the basis of age. 

Fudel was a part-time USAir employee who used the state's Medi-Cal
health
insurance program for the poor to pay for prenatal care, her
hospitalization
and the intensive care for her sick babies, The San Diego Union-Tribune
reported. 

Fudel, who has been married five times, apparently went broke paying for
fertility treatments, which can cost up to $8,000 a treatment. The
newspaper
reported she borrowed at least $20,000 to cover the costs. 

Neonatal care experts said the infants faced a long hospital stay with
many
 medical needs, which may cost millions of dollars. 

An infant born three months premature has a 70 percent chance of making
it.
If they survive, they face a 10 to 20 percent chance of being
handicapped,
said Dr. Thomas Moore, chairman of the Department of Reproductive
Medicine at UC San Diego. 

Babies born three months premature run a risk of cerebral palsy,
cerebral
hemorrhage, nervous system disorders and learning difficulties, Moore
said. 

Fudel's fifth husband, Anthony Fudel, said she had been interested in
having a
child since reaching her 40s. His former wife had no other children. The
couple was married for about a year. 
-- 
Two rules in life:

1.  Don't tell people everything you know.
2.

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