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Multiple births through the years
The first pictures of the octuplets who were born in Los Angeles on January 26 have been released. Clockwise from top left are Jonah, Nariyah, Jeremiah, Isiah, Maliyah, Josiah, Makai and Noah.
Nadya Suleman of California was already a mother of six when she gave birth to the world's longest-living set of octuplets. The single mother, who describes herself as half Arabic, has come under fire amid claims she receives welfare for her 14 children, which she denies.
The babies were born at the Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Centre in California and weighed between 1.8 and 3.4 pounds. A national medical society is investigating whether a fertility doctor followed its guidelines when he implanted six embryos into Suleman before the birth.
The world's first surviving octuplets were born to Nigerian couple Nkem Chukwu and Iyke Louis Udobi in Houston, Texas, in December 1998 and are seen here celebrating their 10th birthday with their mother. Chukwu offered some advice for the new mum-of-eight, saying, "Just enjoy it. It's a blessing, truly a blessing."
In August 2008, a 27-year-old Egyptian woman gave birth to septuplets in the city of Alexandria. After taking fertility drugs to conceive in an effort to produce a son, Gazallah Khamis gave birth to four boys and three girls and was already the mother of three girls.
In November 1997, Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey of Iowi became parents to the world's first surviving set of septuplets. The four boys and three girls, seen on this magazine cover along with their older sister, were also conceived as the result of fertility drugs, and generated a huge amount of media interest in America and beyond.
The Dionne sisters, seen in this 1947 photograph, were the first quintuplets known to survive infancy. They were born in May 1934 in Ontario, Canada and remain to this day the only female identical set ever recorded. Two of the quintuplets are still alive and have written a book on their experiences.
In November 2008, a Sudanese woman gave birth to quadruplets at Al Wasl Hospital in Dubai, becoming the second person to do so in the city's recorded history. Nazik Awad Al Hassan, already a mother of one, gave birth prematurely to two boys and two girls. The babies were delivered via caesarean section and then placed in incubators.
The Walton sextuplets were born to Graham and Janet Walton in Liverpool, England, in November 1983 and are the world's first all-female surviving sextuplets. Their parents had the girls, who recently celebrated their 25th birthday, following numerous attempts at fertility treatment.
This archive shot shows Japan's first quintuplets, born in Kagoshima city in 1976, starting school in Tokyo. The five were born to Yorimitsu Yamashita, a news reporter of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation and his wife, and were subject to wide media coverage.