The advent of hormonal infertility treatments and in vitro fertilization techniques have led to a sharp increase in the number of quadruplet and higher-order conceptions in recent years. Improved neonatal care and nutrition have meant that many more of these babies survive. Yet it appears that very little research has been done into the lives of such children and the psychodevelopmental consequences of their multiple status. In this book, Marie M. Clay brings together what is known from historical records and reports in the medical, psychological, and popular press. She points to the contribution that research studies on higher multiple sets could make to our understanding of genetic-environmental interactions and gives valuable methodological advice for those wishing to initiate such a study. Changes in social practices and medical knowledge are highlighted, various aspects of pregnancy and birth are discussed, and the practical and emotional problems faced by families of multiple sets are sensitively described.
Appended to the book are an illustrated 'Catalog' of quadruplet case reports gleaned from the literature, including birth details and postnatal histories, plus a directory of multiple birth associations, support groups, and study centers around the world.