Friday, April 09, 1999

Radio stations tune in to Y2K frenzy

        Yes, it's time to make a Y2K baby. So light the candles, disconnect the phone and dance with destiny tonight, maybe tomorrow night, too. These are considered the optimum times to conceive a baby slated to be born on Jan. 1, 2000.

        Across the country, radio stations are using the opportunity for promotions.

        Three Tristate couples spent Wednesday afternoon at a Florence motel, at the invitation of WLW-AM's Gary Burbank, trying to conceive the millennium baby.

        “Our scientists had determined that the exact time to conceive the millennium baby was 5:17 p.m. on April 7,” explained John Duke Davies, a producer for Mr. Burbank. (It also just happened to be during peak afternoon drive listening time, following a Reds ballgame on the station).

        WLW-AM (700) will keep track of the couples, including following up with home pregnancy tests, Mr. Davies says. The couples volunteered for the project in response to an on-air solicitation last month, he says.

        In Atlanta, six couples are spending time in hotels this weekend as part of radio promotions.

        Among them, Carol Reed, 30, says she and her husband Christopher are psyched. “Not many people get to witness the turn of the century. And to have a chance to have a baby right as it starts is very, very exciting.”

        Out of 30 couples who wanted to participate, the three were selected by an obstetrician on the basis of the women's cycles, ages and history of childbearing, according to Twana James, co-host of WHTA's morning show.

        Doctors say, however, anything to do with the birds and the bees is a fickle business.

        Even if the mood is right and the body is willing, less than 10 percent of the world's women of childbearing years will actually be ovulating this weekend. And if “you're one of the lucky women ovulating, then you've still got to have a cooperative egg and plenty of sperm,” said Dr. Michael Randell, an obstetrician and gynecolo gist who practices at Northside Hospital (Atlanta).

        In fact, couples only have a 25 percent to 30 percent chance of conceiving, even if the timing is right.

        Of those who become pregnant, up to a third miscarry, doctors say. And finally, actually hitting the date set by doctors is a little like winning the lottery — only 5 percent of women actually go into labor and give birth on their due date.

        Now, some couples might try to stack the odds by trying to schedule their C-section on Jan. 1, but most doctors say they won't allow it because they are more concerned about the health of the baby than a celebration of 2000.

        So let's say lots of couples succeed at creating the first batch of Y2K babies. What might these kids be like?

        Y2K babies will face a remarkably changing world. And — with advances in medicine — they also have a good chance of seeing Jan. 1, 2100, doctors say.


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