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filll Three babies a miracle for a BYU couple
By KIMBERLY FELLER
feller@newsroom.byu.edu
NewsNet Staff Writer

One baby would have been a blessing.

Two would have been almost impossible.

But giving birth to triplets for BYU students Dane and his wife Lorena Seeley was nothing short of a miracle.

On Feb. 15, Andrew, Cassandra and Elena Seeley were born, all weighing less than three pounds.

"These babies are a miracle of modern technology from start to finish ... how they were conceived to how they are," Dane said. "It's really a miracle."

"This has been a blessing all the way," Lorena said.

Two years ago, the Seeleys were told they would never be able to have children.

Before giving up hope, the Seeleys decided to go with their family doctor's advice to have invitro fertilization with ICSI. This new procedure involves the extraction of several eggs and sperms and injecting each sperm directly into each egg. Couples can decide how many of the mature and fertilized eggs they want to place back into the mother's womb.

However, the University of Utah Medical Center told the Seeleys the procedure would cost about $10,000.

The decision to have the operation was difficult. The Seeleys said they considered adoption. Adoption with LDS Social Services costs less than half of the procedure, and would, unlike the procedure, be fail-safe. In addition, with adoption they knew they would get a healthy baby. If something was to go wrong during the procedure or the pregnancy, then the Seeley's would be out the $10,000 they did not have to begin with.

The procedure would help but would not insure the same results, they said.

At the time the couple was making the decision, an anonymous donor stepped up and generously donated thousands of dollars to cover the costs of the entire procedure for a few couples. The money was given through The Miracle Fund to the University of Utah Medical Center where doctors would select the few couples who would never be able to pay for it on their own.

After extensive selection processes including adoption applications, financial statements, meetings with social workers and FBI background checks, the Seeleys found out in July 1999 they had been selected.

"I've often thought, 'Who am I to deserve this?' It has been the most humbling experience and has really strengthened our marriage," Lorena said.

Dane said he still looks forward to the day when he can meet the anonymous donor who made it all possible.

"Someday I want to meet our donor, show them and thank them for what they've done for us."

A few weeks after the couple was selected, Lorena said she began taking hormone pills and shots that stopped communication from her brain to her ovaries. The medication made the release of several eggs possible without the interruption of signals from the brain.

Harry Hatasaka, their doctor at the hospital, said he wanted at least six mature eggs from her. Because of the medication, she was able to give him 13 mature enough for the tests that would follow.

After monitoring the successful cell development, the doctor gave the Seeleys the option of either placing up to three eggs back into Lorena's womb. The doctor said they had a 10 percent chance of having twins and just 2 1/2 percent chance of having triplets.

Dane said he believed they could have triplets.

"This is a one-time shot," he said.

Several weeks later Lorena said she went in for a blood test to see if she had become pregnant. The test results said she was probably pregnant with either twins or triplets.

Three weeks after the test, the Seeleys found out Lorena was definitely carrying triplets; all were healthy.

However, when Lorena was just 19 weeks along, she began dilating, meaning delivery was just around the corner. With over four months to go, there was little chance of any of the babies surviving due to lack of development.

Cari Lawrence, a doctor at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center of Intermountain Health Care, suggested a procedure that could save the babies lives or it could harm them.

"We were willing to try it to buy a few more weeks," Dane said. "Better to do what you can than do nothing at all."

The babies were able to stay inside the womb for eight more weeks because of a procedure that sewed the babies inside.

Only a few weeks ago, after numerous technologies, the babies were born.

The babies will stay at UVRMC where they were born until around May 10, the babies' original due date.

This story was posted on Sunday, February 27, 2000

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