• http://hanasu.blogspot.com Hanasu

    I don’t have any children and I’m not infertile, but I think that woman has been very irresponsible. Irresponsible and selfish, because she was only thinking about what she wanted, not about the children. Even if she wants her kids to be healthy and all that, how is she going to keep 14 kids healthy if she doesn’t even have a job? I really don’t understand what line of thought she’s followed for this.
    Heather, you already said it, it is difficult enough to raise one kid, let alone 14.
    Love your blog, keep up the good work!

  • Em

    When the whole story came out I have to tell you that my first reaction was envy. Let me explain that: I’m a single mom with one kid. I don’t know when or if I’ll find a healthy marriage someday and I go about my business not thinking about that. I would, however, like to be brave enough to do artificial insemination or something by myself to have just one more child.

  • http://shelleyarnett.blogspot.com Shelley

    Thank you Heather for opening up comments on this. You asked for comments from people struggling with infertility, so I’d be happy to give you mine.

    My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for over 5 years now. We have done countless rounds of Clomid, followed by 6 IUI’s. Last year we had our first IVF which was successful, but ultimately ended in a miscarriage at 11 weeks. I cannot describe the physical and emotional pain these procedures have produced. Yet, we are about go through another IVF in the coming weeks. Why? Because we choose to. Because we live in a country and society that allows us to have that choice. I do not believe that choice shoud be taken away from me or any other woman. Nor do I believe that the fact that my reproductive organs don’t work like they should mean that I should have to pass some type of “competency test” in order to choose IVF. I’ve heard several people comment that you should be subjected to the same standards as adoptive parents. Fine, but why only infertile couples. If you follow this twisted logic, shouldn’t everyone be subjected to it. Just because your ovaries work normally, you are automatically considered fit??

    Having said that, I feel that this case is quite unusual in every way. I believe that Nadya is not completely mentally stable. My personal opinion. I don’t believe that she transferred 6 embryos expecting all of them to implant and produce 8 babies. However, based on her economic situation, I do NOT believe that she made a good decision. Whatever her reasons were, they were wrong. When you can’t support the 6 childrent you have, why would you attempt to have even 1 more at that time. I cannot wrap my brain around that. And I do not feel it fair that other people will be footing the bill for her irresponsibility.

    I am saddened by the “black eye” this case is giving the IVF community. Most of us are normal, rational loving couple who simply want the ability to have a child like every other couple.

    And to the many, many people who feel that those of us with infertility issues need to accept that God doesn’t want us to be parents and we are being selfish….doesn’t God also say something about not JUDGING others?

  • Ellen

    I totally agree that this case shouldn’t affect whether other women can get fertility treatment. That being said, I think it was incredibly irresponsible to choose to have more children when she already had 6 children and no job and minimal help raising them. Of course I have no idea what was going through her mind at the time so I can’t judge, but I’m thinking that those kids are probably better off with parent(s) who are more capable of supporting a family.

    It baffles me a little that this woman–who was apparently unemployed and already raising 6 kids–could have possibly afforded IVF.

  • Mommy of Wonder Twins

    My husband and I tried to get pregnant for 3+ years before going through 3 IVF cycles and finally giving birth to beautiful and healthy boy/girl twins. These are extremely painful and invasive procedures that may or may not result in a pregnancy. We were lucky enough to be referred to a highly respected and successful fertility clinic here in the Chicagoland area. Respected and successful because the doctors worked hard at trying to discover why a couple is unable to conceive and how to try to remedy the problem if possible. Their goal was the same as ours – a healthy pregnancy for both mom and baby. And if a pregnancy did not result in a baby that was brought home, they allowed you to use part of the money that went towards the cycle to help you adopt a child.

    Before each cycle we sat down with our specialist and discussed the “issues” and our options. The specialist was always honest about our choices at every step (from how many eggs to fertilze to how many embryos to transfer), possible outcomes and their policies. Yes … they had policies and guidelines, which were actually followed. Our original problem was discovered to be with my husband (low sperm count and funky swimmers); but with each pregnancy – and many tests – other issues were discovered with me (glucose levels and hypertension) which were addressed. After miscarriages with the first two cycles (one at 12 weeks with identical twins), and medication to correct my glucose levels and regulate my blood pressure, I became pregnant with my twins. The doctor only implanted two embryos, even though the guidelines allowed 3 in my situation. You see … most people and doctors are responsible during the IVF cycle and exhibit sound choices at every step.

    All the emotional and physical pain – more than anyone not having gone through this experience will ever know – was worth it!

    And to all the people who commented about overpopulation and adopting. Aren’t you glad that your parents didn’t feel this way? You probably would not exist if they had subscribed to your beliefs.

    And to the ignorant people who said that maybe God made you infertile because He doesn’t want you to have children and just adopt – maybe you need to stop questioning God. Would tell anyone else with any other disease, like diabetes or hypertension or cancer, to not seek medical help because maybe God wants you to die sooner so don’t even try? Your thought process is, quite frankly, ridiculous. It is not your place to question the mysterious ways in which God works. Did it ever occur to you that maybe as Christians my husband and I went through this very long and difficult journey so that we could help other people who are trying to conceive or who have twins? I can definitely answer yes to that question and say that we are more than grateful to have been able to do so.

    As far as adoption is concerned – if we were to apply the “logic” that there are already so many children that need adopting, then why not say that everyone from this point on (until further notice) should just adopt and not have any children of their own? Sounds ridiculous when put this way – doesn’t it? I would personally like to know – did you adopt first before having your own children? Or if you don’t have children yet – are you going to adopt first before trying? Hmmmmm … that’s what I thought. Why is it the responsibility of the “infertile” couples and gay couples and single people wanting children to adopt all the kids, while fertile people get to have their own without adopting? Why aren’t all people who have children questioned about this and then looked down upon if there was no adoption? I believe that adoption is wonderful, but not for everyone. Everyone should have a choice as to how they will have a family given the options. If we had not had twins, we probably would have adopted; however, we have not because we cannot afford to do so at this point in our lives. It is still an option if things change …

  • http://kartasi.wordpress.com kartasi

    I strongly disagree that the doctor should have done research into his patient to determine if she was “fit” to have 8 babies. The doctor can choose not to implant so many embryos based on his concern for the physical health of the mother and child. But for him to make a moral judgment as to the ability of his patient to be a parent crosses the line. Doctors and the government should not be able to determine who can and cannot have children. We have already gone too far in this direction, limiting the adoptive rights of gay couples and I pray that this woman will not be used as an excuse to begin limiting women’s rights to reproductive medicine.

  • Paula

    As someone who has gone through the entire IVF procedure, I am appalled at the doctor’s judgment. My husband and I were set on not transferring more than 2 embryos. When it came time, the embryologist and RE suggested putting in 3 because of the quality of the eggs and my age. We discussed the possibilty of triplets and both professionals assured us multiple births is not the goal of IVF and they believed our greatest chance for success was for all 3 to be transferred. We took their recommendation and are awaiting the arrival of our (single) son anyday now.

    For the woman to even want 6 embryos transferred is ridiculous – and how could she afford it? It took us 3 years to save up the money to pay for the treatments and we both make very good salaries. I don’t understand how someone that doesn’t have a job could have afforded the treatment multiple times.

  • http://irritableblogsyndrome.typepad.com Dayna

    All it takes is for one person to pee in the (reproductive) pool to ruin the party for everyone. Am I right? Huh? Huh?

  • Darcy

    To #692 (rb) I have this to say: the attention this story has received has nothing to do with the fact that this woman is “strange,” nor does it have to do with feeling morally superior to someone else! What a stupid thing to say! I don’t even think this story is drawing attention because a woman received IVF to have 8 babies – after all, she’s not the first to do this. I think the main reason people are so upset about her and her story is due to the fact that she’s unemployed and broke!! And in debt! And already has 6 kids she can’t financially care for!! Nadya Suleman is not using welfare as a temporary arrangement until her financial situation improves. She’ll be on welfare for life – and people SHOULD be outraged about this! Not to mention that it is physically and emotionally impossible for one person to care for 14 children under the age of 7. Impossible. I think it’s completely fair to say that the lives of her children (and her own life) are in danger. Especially since she’s unstable to begin with.

  • http://www.highlandscotherns.blogspot.com Kaylyn

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I think that it is really sad to see the media blow this whole thing out of proportion. I just hope that her kids get the things that they need, and that there is plenty of love and attention in their day to day lives. Like you said, it’s not their fault that they were born into these conditions. I do think that this woman is not all there mentally, but I don’t think that anyone should mess with other peoples rights when it comes to having children.

    Her doctor should lose his license to practice.

  • http://mamioftriplets.blogspot.com/ Triplet Mami

    Wow I am surprised this is open for comments and the comments have rung in. Let it be known I am a fertility patient and I have 7 month old triplets conceived by injections and 2 IUI’s (first and only cycle). Speaking in regards to the laws being changed against these types of pregnancies I believe is completly missing the point. If drug addicts, illegal residents, or even dare I say just people on welfare in general who have 4,5,6 plus children continue to have them, why does the government continue to provide and not make laws against that? It is a fact they cannot afford those children seeing as how they go to the government for help. Be it by way of food stamps, prenatal care, medical care for the children, etc and who on their way to these facilities have no shame in driving up in their pimped out Escalades or BMW’s. Why can’t the government focus on regulating that instead of the fertility world that has been shined a dim light because of one nutcase.

    For the most part, people seeking fertility treatment know this is a long, hard, lonely and expensive road. The fact that a woman who is seeking media attention opened a can of worms that can no longer be closed should be dealt with on an individual basis. Not to mention that the doctor should lose his license and face charges. And by charges, I mean the medical bill that those 8 babies are charging up in the NICU. And yes, it is known that IUI’s and not IVF is what causes most multiple births. However, there is a limit as to how many eggs are allowed for a cycle to be valid. If there are 4 or more of the size needed, the cycle would be cancelled. And the chances of any fertilized eggs actually multiplying is very slim. Unless it is hereditary. It doesn’t take much to know what the risks are involved in these treatments. And it is considered a success when you walk out with 1 baby in the fertility world. Be it known, that fertility docs will refer you to a specialist to discuss the options to reduce, because they know the dangers you face with multiple births.

    All in all, we have a nut job who likes the attention and the hype created by the media. But there are still 14 children who did not choose to be born into that family. The doctor should be held accountable. Period. And if she is unable and deemed unfit as any other individual would to care for these children, then at that point the government should step in and place these children in an appropriate home. I pray to God that people think twice about donating money directly to this woman. The fact that she had the nerve to dish out what it costs to have IVF and still post a website to receive donations is just a slap in the face to any American who pays their taxes. I wouldn’t give her a dime. The government will give her plenty.

  • JennC

    My husband and I have triplets. Two girls, one boy. Four years old, and all healthy and happy, thank God. After trying unsuccessfully for 3 years we used artificial reproductive technology, in vitro fertilization (IVF) to be exact. Did we “want” triplets? No way. But that is what we got, and now we couldn’t imagine our lives without a single one of them.

    I don’t pretend to understand the motives or drives of Nadya Suleman, but it makes me angry that she is now the poster child for reproductive technology. The only reason this is interesting is because *it never happens*. Most couples who use reproductive technology have single births. A few have twins. Even fewer have triplets or more.

    The bottom line is that as much as we would like to determine who gets to have children and who doesn’t, we don’t get to. And thank God, I say. Who are you to tell me that I can or can’t have kids? Who am I to tell you? The best we can do in this and similar situations is to support each other in the choices we have made, for the sake of those very children who did not have a choice.

  • AK

    On a related subject, is it OK to have 17-18 children like the family in Arkansas or the couple from Jon & Kate + 8, and then exploit the details of their lives in the media to earn your living?

  • Vicki

    Heather, I do agree with you and so many of the numerous comments I see here. But let me tell you, as an adopted child myself, I don’t think infertile couples should ever be told that they have to adopt if they want kids. Are those the same people who say that if you want a dog you must not get a purebred, the only ethical thing to do is get a shelter dog? So many things about adoption that the unadopted a totally oblivious to: high instance of attachment disorder, how about other relatives who never accept that child as being a real member of the family? Believe me, it happens. My second thought involves disabled children. One of my two daughters is considered severely autistic. I love her fiercely, but it takes a lot of time, energy, love, and money. God, she’s an expensive child due to her destructive past times. I wouldn’t trade her for anything, and if I could free her of the immense challenges of autism, I would. But knowing that we had a greater chance of conceiving another autistic child, my husband and I decided to stop and be satisfied with our two daughters. I can’t imagine knowingly having multiple embryos implanted with the almost certain knowledge that some of the babies would have disabilities. But you know what? This is definitely an isolated case. It is because it is such an aberration that people are so horrified. The tax money? Get over it, people. There will always be people in government to find totally unacceptable and ludicrous ways to waste tax dollars. Taking care of 14 innocent children is less than a drop in the bucket.

  • http://incompl-te.blogspot.com Anonymous

    I do not think of this story as an “infertility” story, but as a story of child neglect. It only makes me sad, not angry.

  • Jill

    I have a lot of questions about invitro fertilization. My husband and I DID struggle with fertility and in vitro would have been our only choice if we cared about it being OUR genetic baby or coming from MY nurturing body. And to be honest, You know, we did care. But as someone who is also against abortion, I couldn’t wrap my head around what to do with the fertilized eggs that weren’t implanted. I’m not a picket sign carrying fundamentalist, but I do see the crazy hypocrisy in Christians who do choose to use in vitro and then let the fertilized eggs just sit there? Or get destroyed? Or give them (frozen embryos) up for adoption? Really? Am I the only one who thinks that is CRAZY?

    It’s been five years since we adopted our first child and now have two. I’m not afraid to say that I think those of us who struggle with getting pregnant have been given a gift. If we could just accept it for what it is. I know that’s not the PC, we all struggle and have to come up with our own way, opinion…but it’s my opinion and I don’t hear people saying it often enough. Sometimes we don’t get what we think we want. But we can get something equally good.

  • Anonymous

    I believe in a woman’s right to choose and plan her family and the size it will be absolutely. But I have always had serious issues with medical professionals that do IVF the way it was clearly done here.

    I really think the medical community needs to step back and decide amongst themselves some standards in fertility treatment. This is entirely my opinion but I don’t believe they should be implanting people with embryos that would result in more than three or four babies at a time. Once you go past that the risks to the mother and babies just seem too high to me.

    If someone wants to have a large family that is wonderful, more power to them, but it seems unethical to me to encourage or agree to let someone have that large family in one pregnancy.

    Having said all that, I don’t really get our societies fascination with multiple births. This weird glamorization of people having six, seven, or eight babies in one go has always been bizarre to me. It kind of makes people’s outrage about this particular situation seem hypocritical when things like John and Kate plus 8 exist as a popular TV show.

  • http://vampyrpingvin.blogspot.com regitze

    (this is so interesting to follow for an European.
    eyes wide shut).

  • drfantastic

    First of all, we all receive government welfare. Whether it is corporate bailouts, tax write offs for “business lunches,” the fire department, roads, public schools, public universities, etc.

    So now that we’re off the “my tax dollars blah blah” high horse, the reality is that if we live in a democracy then that means that men and women get to make reproductive choices we don’t agree with. Or do agree with.

    Demonizing this particular woman shows the level of mother-hate in this country, which tires me the frick out.

    Have to go spend some of your tax dollars driving on roads, past stop signs paid for with YOUR tax dollars with my tax-payer supported children (thanks public schools!) in my car paid for by my state job.

  • http://nonapplepieclub.blogspot.com Lori

    I happen to be an IVF mom myself, giving birth to twins back in 2003. We have no other children just because I found it to be such a difficult process emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The other factor was financially it would be challenging for us to have more. I’m pretty clear on how this woman came to the conclusion though that she wanted more and kept going. It’s obvious that she has some psychological issues (also known as baggage) that have not been addressed. Whether that be that she’s incapable of dealing with reality (the time, effort, and finances it takes to raise 14 kids) or she’s fame mongering and was attempting to get rich off the situation, or something else, this is not something a person attempts to do solo when emotionally stable.

    As for someone dictating family size, I’m not going to get behind that. I’m more likely to encourage fertility specialists to do psychological evaluations for ALL patients (vs. just for those who are using donor eggs). If this had been required up front there wouldn’t be eight babies in the NICU right now. Yes, children are blessings from God but they are also in need of basic necessities that a single mom with no job or housing can provide.

  • shellybelly

    I think the big difference here between the Octomom and the Duggers/Jon & Kate is very clear. I have no problem with the Octomom being a single mother. Nothing says that should prevent her from having a few kids. (And kudos to any single moms out there — ya’ll are way strong.)

    However, the Duggers had their brood pretty much one at a time and at least one of them had a job. Jon and Kate went in for fertility treatments wanting to have “one more” and got sextuplets. But at that time, they both were working.

    In contrast, Octomom is jobless, on welfare, gets food stamps, lives with her mother (whose house is about to go into foreclosure), and ALREADY had six kids. At least two of them have disabilities, for which she also collects a check.

    While the others have TV shows now, the were not (and are not) financial drains on society. They contribute. They work, pay taxes, etc. In the Octomom’s case, my tax dollars probably went toward her IVF treatments and puffy lips. Not cool.

    Now sometimes people need help, and that’s cool. That’s what the system is there for. But she took major advantage of that system. And if I have to help subsidize her existance, that money SHOULD HAVE GONE TOWARD CARING FOR THE SIX KIDS SHE ALREADY HAD … NOT TOWARD ADDING TO THE BROOD.

    Woman is like the freaking ‘Alien’ queen.

    And for the record, toss the book at the doctor. Sure, maybe the fact that he implanted 6 embryos isn’t illegal, but the fact that he knew she already had 6 kids should have sent up some red flags.

  • Sarah V

    I remember having a conversation once with a college-educated young man who was trying to convince me that we should force sterilization of women on welfare who have more than one child. And this from a man that most women would consider to be a “nice guy”! But it is yet another example of how we let the actions of a minority of people with exceptionally poor judgment or mental health issues (either the guy OR the people trying to work the welfare system!) affect public policy because we all want to believe that we are safe from ever being in such a situation. That these people are so far off the grid, their problems would never become ours. But my sister’s husband left her the week she brought their second son home from the hospital, and she was on welfare for a while before she got back on her feet. And a woman in my office and her loving partner of many years went through in vitro fertilization so they could have a baby together and ended up with twins. Sure they were crazed and exhausted and money was tight, but they are wonderful parents and have a great family. These are our success stories, but they don’t make the news. Instead we get an obviously disturbed woman and a band of children who have no chance of getting the kind of parental attention they require to become functional members of society. And this is what sparks debate about fertility issues? It’s a horror show.

  • Zina

    Heather, without reading any of the other comments I’m here to say: brava. I never would have guessed (seein’ as how I’m a very-devout Mormon and also lean politically conservative) that you would express my exact position on this issue. As I was telling my husband the other day, “Obviously she’s not mentally well and obviously it’s a terrible situation, but the public can’t punish the mother without punishing those innocent children, who are now alive and in great need of all the help they can get.” And also: “If taxpayer money can afford a HUGE stimulus bill including heaps and heaps of pork, we can afford to take care of 14 children in one VERY unusual situation.” (Well maybe those statements aren’t exactly what you would have said, but I did agree strongly with everything you did say.)

    I forgot to watch the Momversation before posting my comment — I guess I was just caught up in the excitement of the moment of completely agreeing with you.

  • Nikki in Maryland

    Ok, so here’s my view on it all, I’m 30 years old and in 9 years of trying to have children, I’ve been pregnant one time. I gave birth to a wonderful little boy in 2003. Obviously there are some fertility issues that I’m dealing with. I have an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist tomorrow morning and all I can think is what if that option wasn’t available to me, then what would I do? I hate that it’s come to this, it’s heartbreaking in so many ways. Everyone has an opinion on what I’m doing or other couples. I want to tell them to shut up. The same people who think they’re trying to help with the constant mantra of “you’re trying too hard, just relax, it’ll happen”, I really want to tell them to shut up. It doesn’t happen that way for everyone. I had a friend who cried it up that they weren’t getting pregnant, she went to the doctor, tried a different day and boom. ONE time in the month which was more than they had in other months. That’s not infertility, it’s celibacy! Using IVF to treat a woman who isn’t having sex? WTF? It’s behavior like that that causes me to get stares and lectures on having a “litter” because I’ve done two rounds of Clomid or that our next step is IUI then IVF. It pisses me off that there are women like this who treat it as a convenience instead of what it is for some of us, a last resort.

  • Denise

    No RE worth his/her salt would implant that many embies into a woman. It seems these 2 oddballs found each other, and I do believe both of them had ulterior motives. Her….to have a bazillion children. Him….to experiment BIG TIME. Sad on both accounts.

    Without fertility treatments and a wonderful egg donor, I would have remained childless. So obviously, I do not agree that us infertile people should “have” to adopt. And not like that route is any picnic either. People talk about adoption like you can just walk down to your neighborhood store and pick-up a baby. Please…..that’s just as rigorous a process as going thru all the fertility crap.

    Fertile people don’t know how lucky they are.

  • Amanda Brumfield

    This is so difficult. I do think that the doctor made an unethical decision in agreeing to participate in this- I can’t fathom why any doctor would do so.

    I think it boils down to this. No I don’t think I have the right to tell another woman what she can and can’t do reproductively. But.

    Nadya was already on government assistance with 6 children to take care of before she got pregnant with the other 8 babies. Do I think she should have been allowed to be impregnated again? No.

    It’s not a judgment of her character. I think it’s a case of resources vs. her wants. She wanted more children. OK then she needs to be able to pay for their care. There are too many people who are sick or disabled who NEED government assistance, who haven’t chosen their circumstances for me to be OK with what’s gone on with this lady.

    I do hope that her actions to not lead to a long term sweeping judgment of IVF. That would be tragic.

  • http://madnessexplained.blogspot.com Ducking Little

    Re. 488 IVF & miscarriage veteran…

    No, I wasn’t referring to you, or for that matter anyone in particular. And I am lucky enough to live in a socialist nation where even my low-income parents could afford to adopt (or get a limited amount of IVF cycles cheap on the state). It just bothers me sometimes to think that if they had chosen IVF instead, my brother and I might have grown up in an orphanage, and my sister might have been fostered in an institution instead of in a family.

    I agree that adoption is a pretty gruelling process, but I think it’s worth it in most cases, especially for the child in question. I guess in a way I kick up a fuss about it because I think that people somehow must value the relationship I have with my parents less than they would if my mother physically gave birth to me, that I am less worthy as a child to my parents than I would be if they carried me forth biologically. Which is not a nice thought, obviously.

    Everyone has the right to make their own choices. My aunt, for instance, had I think three IVF cycles before she decided to long-term foster and not have children of her own. It’s just that I don’t think, sadly, that having biological children is a right, even when everyone else is doing it.

  • Valeri

    You are awfully brave, Heather.

    I am honestly torn on this particular issue. I don’t like the idea that the doctor is to blame. Do we really want doctor’s deciding who should and shouldn’t have kids? What he decides not to implant you because you are gay? Or not a Christian? Or you don’t make enough money? What if you have the means to support octuplets? Who gets the right to tell you no?

    On the other hand, I wish the doctor had stepped in and said, “You know, crazy lady, this probably isn’t the BEST idea.” The person to blame for the situation is the mother and her family. She made an irresponsible decision and her family never stopped her. But, people, give her the chance to do something wrong before we call in the lynch mob to take away her kids. OTher than making a stupid decision and being a generally unlikable person, she hasn’t done anything wrong.

    Do I wish more people would adopt? HELL YES. Do I think we should deny woman the right to do whatever they can to get pregnant? No. Of course not.

  • http://www.doggiebloggie.com Emily

    SO SAD! I feel so bad for the kids. Even if Nadya turned out to be superwoman (which I too don’t think is possible), those kids will never ever get to live a normal life that all kids deserve. Media will circle like vultures over this for years to come. I’m sure that in 40 years, they will still resurrect some crazy story concerning them. I’ve always felt bad for celebrity kids, but I think its much more manageable with only a couple kids and of course a lot of money like most celebs have. I guess I literally feel 8 time worse for these octuplets.

  • Michelle

    I’m done thinking about this crazy situation. I honestly can’t even wrap my head around it, it’s so complicated.

    I just wanted to say that apparently I’ve never watched any of your videos, because I just noticed your accent.

    LOVE IT. I lived in Memphis for a couple of years and I miss the drawl (yours is pretty light, but still there…very pretty)

  • http://aplanetnamedjanet.blogspot.com janet

    I will at least commend Nadia for getting paid for the tv interviews. At least she recognizes that there is some financial downsides to this.

    That said. Everyone please pray for those children. Nadia at least appears to want each and everyone of those children. I grew up one of 9 children. My dad didnt like kids and my mom kept on getting pregnant in order to keep him obligated. Not a good situation at all.

  • http://camprunapup.com/wp/ Katybeth

    I think we should allow her and her mom to care for the children. Offer skill support, offer job assistance, let her take advantage of whatever free services are all ready in place–ie food stamps but absolutely no cash, no bail out, no movie deal, no book. If she can not take care of the children properly and they have to be removed from her home, I think she should have to pay child support towards their care until they reach 21 and if she doesn’t, we don’t judge we prosecute. This is not about reproductive–its about responsibility. The doctor involved needs to be investigated by a medical ethic committee, if their is such a thing.

  • http://www.lovemaegan.com …love Maegan

    look, we ARE talking about ONE woman that went too far …NOT every woman who needs help conceiving. Why can’t we separate the two?

  • NashvilleMom

    On Ms. Suleman… she is clearly nuts and her doctor should lose his license. We had to undergo a psychological screening, and our doctor would never have even worked with that nut job.

    I don’t think her kids should be taken away unless it turns out that she is incompetent, abusive or neglectful. She isn’t even infertile and is liable to have more the natural way if she decides to. What can you do? Forced sterilization isn’t something I think any of us would get behind.

    Having been a beneficiary of IVF, and knowing that most doctors act ethically and responsibly, I don’t think it would hurt to have some regulations in place that prevent transfers of more than three embryos and require psychological screenings. It wouldn’t affect most doctors’ practices at all.

  • http://krees.typepad.com Krees

    We did struggle with infertility. It took us three years to conceive our oldest. We went through test after test, medication, two rounds of IVF which both failed, and the bitterness and depression that came with the realization that we would probably never be able to have kids of our own like we’d always thought we would.

    I tried really hard when this story came out NOT to judge this woman, just like I try not not to judge anyone about their reproductive choices. HEATHER, I AM 100% AGREED WITH YOU. I couldn’t say it any better than you’ve already done.

  • kristi

    we could just tie the tubes of every, say 5 year old, female subject and then require an application process for reversals. i quite like your “approval by committee” idea, heather, because OBVIOUSLY so many are incapable of thinking outside of themselves.

  • Niki

    As the mother of twins, born through IVF, my initial response when I heard about the ocotmom was one of pity and hope that she had a good support network in place to help her. We didn’t PLAN on having twins, but knew through the treatments that our probability of having a multiple birth was increased. At our clinic, before even embarking on the treatment, we had to have several counseling sessions. It’s stressful, hormonal, and financially challenging and usually IVF occurs after years of disappointments and other treatments. In other words, you’re so sick of having scheduled sex that you’ll give the whole process over to a test tube technician just so you don’t have to put out.

    When I heard that the ocotomom had six other children at home, I just figured she already had some idea what she was in for, and good luck to her. Really, it was her choice to put herself in the physically dangerous position that she did. Oh, and she must be crazy.

  • Barbara

    My husband and I weren’t able to conceive after many years and many therapies, but I do not have anything but support for this woman and the life she’s about to embark on.

    I’m pro-choice and by that I mean I do not judge other people’s choices. It was a fluke that she had eight- a total fluke! How many women do you know have had multiple in vitro treatments with no luck at all?

    I don’t think fertility doctors should have the right to review tax returns and make home inspections to decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t.

    What do they do with all the “left over” embryos anyway? I imagine pro-lifers have strong feelings about how these are treated and I don’t blame her for wanting them- what is the alternative? (I personally don’t know)

    Everyone’s beating this drum that she planned on having eight, but seriously- what are the odds? She went on television and said she was happy about it- what did you expect her to say?

    I don’t judge her and wish the best for all of them.

  • Ashee

    When I heard this story, I felt like screaming. Literally. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. Every scrap of fairness was thrown out of the window because this one woman decided she wanted many children, for some reason.

    They talk about this horrible doctor doing this TO her. He did it FOR her. He obviously is very unethical, but she’s not a victim, she paid him to do this. On that note, if she can’t feed her kids, how did they pay for this procedure? Sounds very fishy to me. If I had six children, three of whom had special needs, and I had no job and lived off welfare and my parents, you can be DAMN sure that if I suddenly came into money, it would go to my EXISTING kids. Not on a procedure to have more kids and NOT to have plastic surgery. FUCK.

    Reproductive rights. She has them. They should not be taken away. BUT

    -What about the rights of her children? Her attention is now spread out over FOURTEEN CHILDREN and she is single! No father to be heard from! No doubt a few of them will at some point feel overlooked. Hell, it happens in families of five.

    -What about the rights of her parents? They been stuck with the financial and emotional burden of giving her and her children a place to live up to this point, and now there will be eight more children stuffed into their home! They have been responsible for this woman and her well-being until she grew up (physically, anyways) and now they have to continue? When do they get a break?

    -What about the rights of those who run/rely on the community programs this woman relies on to make ends meet? Are there other families who are making do with less or going without because this woman and her fourteen children are sucking up resources?

    -What about the rights of responsible people who are looking at IVF as a means of having a child they are emotionally/financially ready for? IVF is under such scrutiny now. I sincerely hope this doesn’t spark changes that will make it harder for rational people to have IVF, because that is not fair whatsoever.

    What’s done is done and I sincerely hope that these children are cared for and this woman gets that screw tightened in her head before she thinks about getting more IVF/plastic surgery done. My heart goes out to them, but I simply do not trust this woman’s motives.

  • Olivia

    I don’t have a problem with IVF or adoption or fertility treatments or abortion or choosing to have 10 kids or choosing to never have kids and treating your pets like children. Whatever is the right thing for you should be available for you to do in terms of family planning. I don’t question that at all.

    What I have a problem with is the lack of personal responsibility people take in these situations. If you want 14 kids, that’s fine by me…just be certain *you* can take care of them and afford to provide for them. The key phrase there is “YOU PROVIDE”. Without sponging off the government. Without burdening the rest of society with caring for your children. I’m not against government assistance/welfare as a temporary solution for people when they fall on hard times. Choosing to have 14 children under the age of 7 and no income to support them does not fit the bill of “temporary” by any means, nor is it something you “fall” into. Its very clear that this woman is going to need help from more than just her family. That makes it a very irresponsible decision in my book…yes, that’s my personal judgment of her based on what I know of the situation. It’s her right to choose to have 14 children and it’s my right to say YOU ARE CRAZY.

    Unfortunately, government regulation and having more laws can’t fix the root of the problem. People have to take more personal responsibility for their actions and truthfully, I have no idea how the society at large can better encourage that. It’s…a little depressing.

  • AuntieJen21

    “My right to swing my arm ends where my neighbor’s nose begins.”
    – Oliver Wendell Holmes

    I don’t see how reproduction is any different. Your right to have a child (or children) should extend only as far as your ability to provide and nurture said offspring.

  • LisA

    I think we’re on a very slippery slope of individual rights. My husband and I used infertility treatments for 8 years. Hormone treatments to make eggs grow. Spent thousands of dollars and even lost a house because of it. After finally getting 4 eggs big enough to ovulate, you get to the point where you just don’t care, you just want a baby. Luckily I only had single births. But infertility is painful, and hormone treatments make PMS seem like a happy day at the park.

    Who gets to decide how many kids are too many? 6? 4? 2? Who gets to decide if single women can have a baby or not? What income dictates whether or not you are eligible to have a baby? 50,000? 100,000, or do you have to make at least 200,000 a year to be a parent?

    I agree, this case is unique and so sad for the children involved, but when we start focusing on number of children, marital status and income, I truly start to worry about our individual freedoms.

  • LA

    honestly, i feel really bad for the children. that being said, i think, if she honestly asked for that many embryos to be implanted, she was looking to make the news and wanting the money. she was having finsncial issues before…the doctor should never have agreed. i pray for the children.

  • http://donthavekids.wordpress.com/ Karyn

    In the same way that the plastic surgeons who continued to operate on Michael Jackson’s nose when he is obviously not in his sane mind, fertility doctors need to be held to a standard when implanting eggs. One crazy lady plus 14 children created in a lab equal a doctor that may need to have his license revoked.

    Love you Dooce!


  • Virginia

    I will admit I haven’t read all the comments, so if this has already been said I apologize.

    One of the issues that I am not hearing much talk about is how fertility doctors can handle patients like Ms. Suleman who believe life begins at conception and are, therefore opposed to selective reduction. Ms. Suleman also did not seem to want her embryos to remain frozen after she was done having children, nor did she want them destroyed. Since this was her last go-round, she had them all implanted, assuming most would not make it.

    I think the question of how a doctor discusses what requirements a patient’s religious belief may impose on treatment, as well as how the treatment must be tweaked to accommodate those beliefs, is a pretty interesting one. What if the doctor refused to implant them all at Ms. Suleman’s request, thus violating her religious beliefs? I think the only responsible thing to do here was to ask “If you have multiples, would you consider reduction?” and “If there are embryos left over what would want to be done with them?”. If a patient isn’t open to selective reduction, I think a doctor should implant very few embryos. If a patient would not want “left over” embroyos donated or destroyed, you have to harvest just enough for one responsible procedure.

    I bring this up because, although I am pro-choice for all women and families, I personally feel the same way Ms. Suleman does. If I ever did do fertility treatments, these are issues I would have to talk with my doctor about. I understand her not wanting the embryos destroyed and having them all implanted on the basis that there is virtually no chance many will make it. I don’t understand why she and her doctor created a scenario where that was the best choice given her religious beliefs.

  • Anonymous


    If it’s nature way of saying there are too many of us, why does it have to me *me* that has to stop reproducing? That’s a pretty unfair assumption. So you want one kid. Great, that’s just grand. I wanted ONE too. Actually I “wanted” more than one but it turns out that the only way we could conceive was through IVF and after one successful pregnancy and over $100K in personal out of pocket expense, my husband and I decided that we couldn’t really afford anymore procedures if we wanted to be able to take care of our child and have the money for his education.

    I think people should be able to have as many as they want as long as they can afford them.

  • http://prostokvasha.blogspot.com/ daria

    (I admit to not having read all 450+ comments above, so I apologize for any repetition of opinion.)

    I have been trying to stay largely avoidant of the media craze surrounding this situation, but of course, I could not fully escape from overhearing some popular and loud opinions on this issue. I found this link – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29038814/?gt1=43001 – posted on the momversation site, however, very informative and I think it gives a good basis for forming an opinion.

    Per this video, she seems to clarify some of the misconceptions/criticisms of the public: Is she on welfare? No. She seemed to have gotten some money from a prior lawsuit and probably comes from a well-to-do family (but I don’t know), so us CA residents probably don’t have to worry about our tax money. No job? She probably had to stay home to take care of her other 6 children; nothing crazy there, plenty of people do that. And clearly, she DID have one before. She lives with her mom/parents? As was said before, who can take care of 6 children alone, without a partner or siblings. I see nothing wrong with that particular situation either. Are she and the doctor a crazy baby-makin team? Sounds like she’s done this 6 times before, so what reason did she have to believe this one was going to be different. I don’t know about the practices of IVF (what number of embryos is customary, etc.), but they did mention things about “her particular fertility needs”. Also, I’d guess that the procedure was kosher since it ran by many people many times before… but then again, it only takes once for a criminal to get caught, right? Could she be lying/fudging facts? Sure, but until we know for sure, I don’t think there’s ever reason to doubt her testimony.

    There are also other things in reference to her faith (probably why she herself chose to give all fertilized eggs a chance at life) and the fact that apparently everyone gets plastic surgery in LA (according to a friend) that I could talk about, but I feel that it is time to step off this soapbox.

    One last thing though on the original concern of your post, Heather. I don’t know, but I haven’t heard too much criticism of the use fertility treatments in general. It seems that people are hating on the particulars of her “crazy”, and would probably be just fine with any other “sane” people doing their thing in whatever way fits their needs. So, I don’t think you need to worry there. But that’s just my two cents.

  • http://www.alixnorth.com Alix

    I agree that this is an isolated case. I don’t think that there is something for us to “learn here” or “take action on” to help other people. The thought that people will use this to judge others saddens me.

    What concerns me about Nadya’s situation is how the kids may suffer. She sounds very idealistic about how things will work out. If what her mother said is true, it sounds like her parents have paid the price of Nadya having six children previously. I’d feel less inclined to judge if I didn’t feel like other people were being used by Nadya. Wait, that’s not right…I’d still think she was being unfair to the kids. I’d still feel that kids deserve a level of attention that she cannot give them in this circumstance. But, everything I know may be wrong!

    And again, this has nothing to do with any other woman’s reproductive rights. We are not a country overrun by Nadya Sulemans, let’s be real.

  • http://riogringa.typepad.com Rio Gringa

    Though this case is extreme and surprised me when I first heard about it, the concept isn’t new to me after living abroad. I see homeless mothers every day, where one child is one too many, but a number of them have two, three, four, or even five children. I also believe in reproductive rights, but after living in Brazil I’ve believed in them a little less, especially considering the homeless are often responsible for the high levels of crime here. Education, social welfare, and better health care all play a role and need to be improved in both countries. I just think it’s unfair to any child in any country to be brought into a world where he has no chance. Hopefully, Nadya’s kids might get one.

  • Ulla

    The problem with Nadyas case is that we are so busy demonizing HER and not the MEDICAL SYSTEM that allowed this to happen. This is discrimination of women and the sad part is that we women don’t even realize we are doing this.

    In Denmark where I live the doctors are only allowed to put two eggs in you. And no crazy hormone treatments are allowed. I think this is the right way to go. We need to legislate about fertility treatment so that the “weird” doctors and women out there don’t go overbord.