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Khan misinformed about fertility treatment—Verna
Who told Minister of Health Fuad Khan that the mother of the Caribbean’s first sextuplets, Petra Lee Foon, underwent fertility treatment?
That was the question asked yesterday by Verna St Rose- Greaves, former gender affairs minister and friend of the parents— Lee Foon, 28, and Kieron Cummings, 29. Dr Khan, in an interview published in a daily newspaper (not the T&T Guardian) yesterday, said he was shocked to learn that Lee Foon had undergone fertility treatment, because he had been told she had not. He also promised legislation to regulate fertility treatment.
“This young woman is an adult and she is the one to speak on whether she was on fertility drugs or not.
But I think we have to verify with the minister who in fact told him she was on fertility drugs,” St Rose-Greaves responded yesterday, while attending International Women’s Day commemorations at the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of- Spain. Saying Lee Foon was disturbed by the statements, St Rose-Greaves explained: “My information is that this young couple, in a committed, loving relationship, were seeking to start a life together and did what we want all young people to do—check themselves out before starting a life and family.
“The couple did several things—they sought housing, not only with HDC, which was one option any citizen of T&T is entitled to—and they checked out their reproductive health. During those health checks, it was discovered that she (the mother) had a condition that needed to be treated.
In the course of treating her condition, she got pregnant, and we got six babies.” She said fertility drugs might have been administered as part of the medical treatment for her condition, but Lee Foon did not seek fertility treatment. She said the babies are here and the country had done a wonderful thing to bring six high-risk babies and their mother safely through the pregnancy and delivery.
“We haven’t taken time to celebrate it and we’re seeing it turn into a political thing, a street fight, almost. What we need to focus on is not punishment.
We always take a punitive approach and we feel that legislation can police women. It’s like, ‘How dare she?’” She appealed to the country to send positive energy to the children, especially the first boy, who is not doing well. The mother, St Rose-Greaves said, has to focus on the ailing firstborn as well as producing milk to feed six children. “Stress and worries and drama are not going to assist them.” The new parents, she said, have much family support and they are prepared to take care of their children.
“We’re not begging for anything. But it is in the interest of those children that we do the best we can for them. There are lots of generous people wanting to help so it’s not as if we’re begging for anything.” She congratulated the staff at Mt Hope and said the conversation should be about how the care afforded to Lee Foon and the sextuplets could be extended to all mothers and babies.
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