The McCaughey family's seven children - who became the world's first surviving set of septuplets - have now graduated from high school in Iowa.

Alexis, Brandon, Joel, Kelsey, Kenny, Natalie and Nathan were famously photographed with President George W. Bush in 2002, five years after their births made national headlines.

Their Nov. 1997 births triggered a national debate after Bobbi McCaughey, 29 at the time, used fertility drugs to help her become pregnant. It was viewed as a medical miracle that all seven survived.

Doctors advised that aborting some of the fetuses would increase the chances of survival for the others, but the family - citing their religious beliefs - declined.

Here's what the New York Times reported on the births: 

Ethicists said the case of the McCaughey septuplets raised several of medicine's hardest questions.

First, is it appropriate to use technology to create life? Some, including Pope John Paul II, have taken a moral stand against fertility drugs, particularly because multiple fetuses often result, and many are likely to be stillborn or to die soon after birth.

Others question the ethics on the basis of resource allocation: should society spend so much money so one family can have a child?

Even tougher are the questions raised by a conundrum of multiple births. If some of the fetuses are not aborted, all could die or could be born so small that they might not survive. So is it appropriate to use technology to end life, especially life created by technology?

''Some people see a duty not to kill,'' said Jennifer A. McCrickerd, an assistant professor of philosophy who teaches biomedical ethics at Drake University in Des Moines. ''Others see a duty to save as many as you can.''

Two of the siblings reportedly plan to attend Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri, which offered the family free tuition for the children. 

One of the sons is said to be planning to join the Army. Read more on the seven siblings via the Des Moines Register.


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