Dr. Lenny Hutton had been in practice for four years in 1987 when the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) program at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak referred a 34-year-old woman expecting quintuplets—make that America’s first test-tube quintuplets.
“I was a little stunned when she showed up in my office with the pictures of five viable babies with five heartbeats,” Hutton, 59, said.
Michele L’Esperance, a social worker and former model, conceived the babies with the help of Dr. S. Jan Behrman, chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beaumont. Behrman, known as the grandfather of reproductive endocrinology, had gone to England to learn the IVF procedure and brought it back to the Midwest, Hutton said.
On Jan. 11, 1988 Hutton attended a Monday night dinner program at a local restaurant when he received a phone call from the hospital.
“As I left the restaurant I told the maître d’, ‘What I am about to do, you’re going to read about in the paper tomorrow.”
Hutton said they choreographed the delivery like a ballet.
“We had to practice because we knew we couldn’t go by the seat of our pants with five,” he said. “We needed five bassinets, five neonatologist, five teams of nurses—five of everything. We practiced how we were going to hand them off and what room they would go to.”
Source: Judy Davids, “It’s Been 25 Years Since L’Esperance Quintuplets Made History in Royal Oak;Beaumont doctor fondly recalls delivering America’s first test-tube quintuplets“, Royal Oak Patch Community Paper, March 19, 2013; updated March 22, 2013.