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A 22 year-old woman from Afghanistan gave birth to naturally conceived sextuplets, three boys and three girls. Sara Gul and her husband Shukrullah have mixed feelings about their new additions, because they are poor and not sure what their children's future will bring.

Most higher order multiples come to be through IVF these days, and the practice of selective reduction (aborting some of the fetuses) is commonly recommended by doctors in these cases. Gul, who got pregnant with all those babies completely naturally, had her own thoughts on that. She told Reuters, after she gave birth to her new brood, that she had tried to abort when she found out how many babies she was carrying.

According to Gul: "I even jumped from a wall but nothing happened to them."Photos of her showed Gul's exhaustion. At only 22, she certainly has a lot on her plate! One picture was published of three of the babies. Most of them were born healthy, but one is still receiving postnatal care, said one official at the maternity ward Gul gave birth at. Her husband's statement was a little less bitter.

The unemployed new father said: "Allah blessed me with six children, but I am worried about their future."The sextuplet birth has highlighted the maternity care situation in Afghanistan. The war-ridden country has the highest maternal and neonatal mortality rate in the world. Though the Taliban is gone, Islamic scholars who say that birth control is unlawful still have power over women, and their family planning decisions.

Many people in Afghanistan have been calling on the government to financially support the Gul family, and people in other countries have also offered monetary assistance.If you want to read more about woman's rights in Afghanistan, you'll also be interested in this recent news item: Rape victim Gulnaz released from jail.

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