As soon as I heard about the woman in California who had octuplets last week, I smelt something a little odd. As soon as it was revealed she already had six kids and conceived the octuplets (and her other six children) via fertility treatment? Well, it wasn't long before media reports started mentioning the fact there were ethical concerns around why a woman with 6 children would be having fertility treatment.
Now, the whole messy weird story is starting to come out and you can only worry for the mental health of all involved. I've posted all the details after the jump from an interview given by the octuplets grandmother. She says her daughter (who lives at home with her parents) has conceived all her kids via IVF because "her fallopian tubes are all blocked up" and that she's wanted babies since she was a teenager. She also says her daughter isn't married, has no partner and, basically, must be stopped from reproducing any more. Two words come to mind: 'horse' and 'bolted'.
The grandmother, who is looking after the woman's 6 OTHER CHILDREN (ages 7, 6, 5, 3 and 2-year-old twins) has helpfully said she's bailing as soon as her daughter comes home. So there's that to look forward to for a mother who, after carrying 8 babies to 31 weeks gestation, one can only assume will be pushing her stomach home in a wheelbarrow.
This story (14 children under 7, dear lord above…..) certainly raises the issue of whether someone can be unhealthily addicted or obsessed with having babies. Some say that about Angelina. It's also been said about Mia Farrow. There was an Australian woman who had IVF to conceive quads and just a year or so later, had IVF to conceive another set of quads (one of which sadly died in utero). I know that hormones can make you a little crazy. I love being pregnant and I love having babies but I do hope someone would stop me as I hurtled towards double figures and showed no signs of slowing down…….
So how many is too many? At what point does a mother's need to breed begin to detrimentally affect her children?
The medical team who delivered the octuplets born last week in California.
LOS ANGELES — The woman who gave birth
to octuplets this week conceived all 14 of her children through in
vitro fertilization, is not married and has been obsessed with having
children since she was a teenager, her mother said.
Angela Suleman told The Associated Press she was not supportive when
her daughter, Nadya Suleman, decided to have more embryos implanted
"It can't go on any longer," she said in a phone interview Friday.
"She's got six children and no husband. I was brought up the
traditional way. I firmly believe in marriage. But she didn't want to
Nadya Suleman, 33, gave birth Monday in nearby Bellflower. She was
expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days, and
her newborns for at least a month.
A spokeswoman at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said
the babies were were progressing daily, with all eight breathing
unassisted and being tube-fed.
While her daughter recovers, Angela Suleman is taking care of the
other six children, ages 2 through 7, at the family home in Whittier,
about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
She said she warned her daughter that when she gets home from the hospital, "I'm going to be gone."
Angela Suleman said her daughter always had trouble conceiving and
underwent in vitro fertilization treatments because her fallopian tubes
are "plugged up."
There were frozen embryos left over after her previous pregnancies
and her daughter didn't want them destroyed, so she decided to have
Her mother and doctors have said the woman was told she had the
option to abort some of the embryos and, later, the fetuses. She
Her mother said she does not believe her daughter will have any more children.
"She doesn't have any more (frozen embryos), so it's over now," she said. "It has to be."
Nadya Suleman wanted to have children since she was a teenager, "but luckily she couldn't," her mother said.
"Instead of becoming a kindergarten teacher or something, she started having them, but not the normal way," he mother said.
Her daughter's obsession with children caused Angela Suleman
considerable stress, so she sought help from a psychologist, who told
her to order her daughter out of the house.
"Maybe she wouldn't have had so many kids then, but she is a grown
woman," Angela Suleman said. "I feel responsible, and I didn't want to
throw her out."
Little psychological research has been conducted on the reasons some
mothers seem hooked on repeated pregnancies. David Diamond, a
co-director for the Center for Reproductive Psychology in San Diego,
said mothers can be drawn to repeat pregnancies for a number of
reasons, with some finding the experience so satisfying they choose to
Diane G. Sanford, a psychologist and author specializing in women's
reproductive mental health, said while she doesn't know much about
Nadya Suleman's background, women that have obsessive-compulsive
disorder can become fixated on different obsessions.
"Her obsession centers around children, having children and being a
mother," she said. "To what degree are her esteem and identity based on
being a mom, and why has this from a young age been such a
preoccupation of hers?"
Yolanda Garcia, 49, of Whittier, said she helped care for Nadya Suleman's autistic son three years ago.
"From what I could tell back then, she was pretty happy with
herself, saying she liked having kids and she wanted 12 kids in all,"
Garcia told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
"She told me that all of her kids were through in vitro, and I said
'Gosh, how can you afford that and go to school at the same time?'" she
added. "And she said it's because she got paid for it."
Garcia said she did not ask for details.
Nadya Suleman holds a 2006 degree in child and adolescent
development from California State University, Fullerton, and as late as
last spring she was studying for a master's degree in counseling,
college spokeswoman Paula Selleck told the Press-Telegram.
Her fertility doctor has not been identified. Her mother told the
Los Angeles Times all the children came from the same sperm donor but
she declined to identify him.
Birth certificates reviewed by The Associated Press identify a David
Solomon as the father for the four oldest children. Certificates for
the other children were not immediately available.
Angela Suleman told reporters Friday that doctors implanted far
fewer than eight embryos, but they multiplied. Experts said this could
be possible since Nadya Suleman's system has likely been
hyperstimulated for years with fertilization treatments and drugs.
The news that the octuplets' mother already had six children sparked
an ethical debate. Some medical experts were disturbed to hear that she
was offered fertility treatment, and troubled by the possibility that
she was implanted with so many embryos.
"You should always shoot for one," said Dr. Marcelle Cedars, a
professor and director of reproductive health at the University of
California, San Francisco, Medical Center, who worried about the
increased risk of potential health complications for the babies.
Others worried that she would be overwhelmed trying to raise so many children and would end up relying on public support.
"This woman could not comprehend the ramifications of having eight
children of the same age at the same time," said Judith Horowitz, a
Parkland, Fla.-based psychologist and author who works with couples on
fertility issues. "After Pampers stops delivering the free diapers,
The eight babies – six boys and two girls – were delivered by
cesarean section weighing between 1 pound, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 4
ounces. Forty-six physicians and staff assisted in the deliveries.