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01.02.2009 International

Woman who had eight babies already have six


How in the world does a woman with six children get a fertility doctor to help her have more — eight more?

An ethical debate erupted Friday after it was learned that the 33-year-old Southern California woman who gave birth to octuplets this week had six children already.

Large multiple births “are presented on TV shows as a 'Brady Bunch' moment. They're not,” fumed Arthur Caplan, bioethics chairman at the University of Pennsylvania. He noted the serious and sometimes lethal complications and crushing medical costs that often come with high-multiple births.

But Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, who has fertility clinics in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York, countered: “Who am I to say that six is the limit? There are people who like to have big families.”

Kaiser Permanente announced the mega-delivery Monday. It was only the second time in U.S. history that eight babies survived more than a few hours after birth. The six boys and two girls are said to be in good condition.

So why, with a brood of six including 2-year-old twins, did Nadya Suleman chose to have more children?

Friends and family explained that her only goal in life was to be a mother. The woman's mother, Angela Suleman, said her daughter had the embryos implanted, in hopes, of getting “just one more girl.”

Her daughter has always loved children, her mother said. Then she sighed. “I wish she would have become a kindergarten teacher.”

Doctors said the woman rejected an offer from doctors to abort some of the embryos.

Some medical experts were disturbed to hear that the woman was offered fertility treatment, and troubled by the possibility that she was implanted with so many embryos — well beyond the number advised by U.S. fertility industry guidelines.

Source: AP