Yesterday, a California woman gave birth to octuplets, but such multiple baby births could become even more rare in the future. A new procedure has been developed that is said to check eggs for viability before they’re implanted in a woman’s uterus.Now, the California mother of eight won’t answer questions about whether she had fertility treatments, but it seems extremely likely given that women don’t normally give to so many babies naturally. When a woman undergoes in vitro fertilization, many fertilized eggs are implanted with the hope that one of them will be viable, and sometimes more than one of them takes, which is where a lot of twins, triplets, quartets, etc. come from.
With the new procedure, announced Monday by a team of U.K. researchers, the DNA of eggs can be checked before they get implanted, improving the odds that women who really, really, really want to give birth to a child of their own. The procedure will likely cut down on the number of tries some will need before an egg takes making in vitro a more affordable option. It’s possible it also will reduce multiple baby births, because fewer eggs will be implanted in the first place. So, enjoy “Jon & Kate Plus 8” while you can. [Time]