A mother has given birth to the first sextuplets born in England for more than quarter of century.
Surrounded by a team of doctors and nurses, the 31-year-old woman gave birth to four girls and two boys 14 weeks early.
The tiniest of the babies, born last Friday at 11.05pm, weighed under 1lb 5oz and the biggest just 1lb 15oz. The arrivals were under the close care of experts in the neonatal intensive care unit of Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.
Live births of such a high number of babies are incredibly rare and the birth of |sextuplets is estimated to occur in just one in every 4.5m pregnancies.
The next few days and weeks are said to be “critical” for the siblings, who are dependent on a vast array of medical equipment and the devotion of experts for their survival.
Staff at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals said they felt “privileged” to have played a part in the birth, which had been the subject of meticulous planning over several weeks.
There were different teams of medical staff at the birth to look after the mother and each of her babies.
Dr Kenny McCormick, consultant neonatologist, said: “The next few days and weeks will be critical. Babies that are born this early need a lot of specialist care.
“They are receiving round the clock care and specialist nursing and their condition is constantly monitored.”