PHOENIX – In the space of five minutes, surrogate mother Teresa Anderson (search) delivered five boys to a childless couple she met on the Internet, a bond that grew so close she eventually waived the $15,000 fee she had charged.
First came Enrique, then Jorge a minute later. Gabriel came third. Then Javier and, finally, Victor.
Luisa Gonzalez, 32, the children's genetic mother, said she began to cry when the first of the quintuplets emerged. "I've been waiting for this for a long time," she said. "I cannot say enough about Teresa and what she's done for us. She has given me my dream; she has given us our family."
Four of the boys should be able to go home in about three weeks. Javier will be hospitalized longer to undergo surgeries to correct a heart defect.
The babies were born in the 33rd week of Anderson's pregnancy, a week earlier than planned because the mother was experiencing elevated blood pressure and other complications. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks.
"Teresa's a wonderful woman — she's doing great," Dr. John Elliott, who delivered the quintuplets, told ABC's "Good Morning America" early Wednesday.
Gabriel was the biggest, at 3 pounds, 15 ounces; Javier the smallest, at 3 pounds, 7 ounces. Enrique was 3 pounds, 14 ounces; Jorge 3 pounds, 13 ounces; and Victor 3 pounds, 8 ounces.
Anderson, 25, had planned to use the $15,000 to help her study to be a nurse and support her own family. She and her husband have two children.
But when the Andersons, of Mesa, discovered that all five embryos had taken hold, they decided to decline payment because of the expenses that Gonzalez, a homemaker, and her husband, Enrique Moreno, a landscaper, will now face.
"Quintuplets are very, very difficult to carry," said Elliott. Even for mothers carrying their own children, it is very hard, but "to do that for someone else is extraordinary."
Moreno and Gonzalez said they aren't sure how they will handle the financial burden of caring for so many children in their three-bedroom home in suburban Gilbert.
"We'll do the best we can," Gonzalez said. "I know God will help us."
To tell the quintuplets apart, Gonzalez and Moreno said they'll probably have to rely on ID tags for a while.
"To me, they all look the same. They all look like me," said Moreno, smiling.
Newborn Javier was taken to the cardiac unit at Phoenix Children's Hospital's because the left side of his heart was underdeveloped and could not properly pump blood. He was reported in stable condition.
Elliot said the baby had a one-in-three chance of survival.
Dr. John Stock, the pediatric cardiologist who diagnosed the heart problem, said children with the defect must either undergo a series of operations to fix the problem or get a heart transplant.
His small size means surgery is the only real option for his survival. Doctors are hoping that he'll have time to grow in the next few days or week before the first surgery.
Anderson walked into the delivery room before the Caesarean section deliveries — something her obstetrician had never seen from someone carrying quintuplets.
Anderson met Gonzalez and Moreno met on a surrogacy Web site. The couple had tried for about a decade to start a family. They underwent in vitro fertilization, in which doctors harvested eggs from Gonzalez's ovaries and fertilized them with her husband's sperm in a laboratory.
Five embryos were implanted to increase the chance that one would result in a successful pregnancy.
"We were always looking for just one," said Moreno, 34, who immigrated from Mexico 16 years ago. "If it's five, it's for a reason."
In 2002, more than 45,000 babies were born as a result of such techniques, accounting for a little more than 1 percent of all births across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search).
The couples have said they will probably stay in contact as the quintuplets grow older. "I know Teresa wants to see them grow up," said Anderson's husband, Jerad Anderson.