• http://www.thegreendietblog.com Lisa

    As someone going through fertility treatments this story is close to my heart. First, I’d like to know what her “multiple reproductive problems” were/are. Is it just that she didn’t have a source for sperm?

    This isn’t something that will be regulated in this country, I believe, until the government pays for the services. Which won’t happen. Should there be guidelines? Yes. Should there be psychological evaluations for some people? Yes, I believe so. Her Doctor, if on the up and up, should have referred her for counseling. To ensure that any children she could have had from the next procedure would be well cared for, and that she could handle being a Mommy to more than six children.

    I believe she will have further treatments of some sort. It’s clear that she started w/ plastic surgery, and moved on to IVF. Possibly on to more plastic surgery next. I’m not sure.

    I’d also like to state that just because she had six embryos transferred, and had eight children, that does NOT mean that two embryos split. Four embryos could have split. It’s not guaranteed that all transferred embryos implant. Trust me, I know of what I speak. Sigh.

  • http://maarmie.blogspot.com maarmie

    The blame rests fully with the doctor, who, I believe, should be relieved of his medical license. The end.

  • http://www.epervalencia.com Eper

    You are right in saying that the doctor should be made responsible for this more than Nadya. How come we don’t see him on the news?

    As for separating the kids from their mother, I don’t think that’s a good solution at all. This is an isolated incident and other infertile couples shouldn’t bear the brunt of it.

  • Julia

    This whole issue has upset me so much every time I read about it. I agree, no one should look at this and make judgements about the general public’s rights to reproductive medicine. However, we have every right to judge this woman’s choices, since she is obviously not well. Creating children for the mere purpose of exploiting them for money and attention is not something that anyone should condone. Those of you who seem to think that this woman is innocent don’t seem to be thinking about what these children’s lives are going to be like. This is one woman, who has no help, since apparently her mother is finally escaping her, expected to take care of 14 children under 8. This woman knew what she was doing, and she did it on the assumption that she would get a multi million dollar TV contract out of it. (She has stated this quite clearly.) How is that not abusive? Someone please tell me.

  • Chloe

    It is IRRESPONSIBLE. She cannot look after those children without relying on other peoples assitance so her decision is not one which is just effecting her life it is one which effects her parents, her other children, tax payers and so on and noone else got to have a say in it.

    Having children is not a right, it is a priveledge, like virtually everything else which we, americans particularly, seem to take for granted. I do not believe that anybody should be able to walk into a doctors office, plonk a credit card down and have embryos implanted into them with no regard for the consequences. What if we all decided to have families of 10+? And then all our children decided to have families of 10+ to? Hormones do crazy things to some people. You are right when you say it is an intensely personal choice to have children, but we have a responsibility to create lives which we, individually, can sustain (seeing as it is *our* decision and ours alone) without relying on the rest of society just as we have a responsibility to not TAKE lives away through our own reckless behavior. It is a selfish, indulgent decision and the choice to have IVF should not be freely handed out to any crackpot who walks by your sign. There should be laws preventing this kind of thing from happening, there should be a qualifying procedure in place before people have access to this kind of treatment.

  • Anonymous

    I liked hearing your thoughts. It made me think about the other side of this situation…It also made me realize how quick I was to judge. Thanks.

  • http://dearhearts.org Joey

    I just feel sad and frustrated about all of the hate being hurled at this obvbiously sick woman. And not ‘sick’ in a ‘oooohhh crazy bitch’ kinda way, but in a ‘dear god, can we please get this woman some help’ kinda way.

  • IVF & miscarriage veteran…

    @ no. 482:

    I really hope your comment wasn’t in reference to me.

    My husband and I married in my mid-20′s, and based on previous medical situations which I don’t want to get into here, we suspected that I would have trouble conceiving “naturally”. So, we started trying to conceive about one year into our marriage, and then one year later, pursued more “aggressive” treatment.

    Just because we could “afford” one IVF treatment, doesn’t mean that we could AFFORD TO ADOPT.


    That is an absolute fact.

    My husband and I would definitely considering adoption if it didn’t cost AT LEAST $80,000 to OVER $100,000 PER CHILD in the country we live in. Both domestic adoption and international adoption are insanely and prohibitively expensive!

    A fresh IVF cycle is about $10,000. A thawed frozen embryo transfer (FET), is about $1500. IVF is a FRACTION of the cost of of adoption where I live.

    And even as it is, we have only done ONE fresh IVF cycle and a couple of FET’s.

    And despite the fact that it IS a medical procedure, it is still NOWHERE NEAR as personally INVASIVE as the godawful prying that is involved in any form of adoption or foster-to-adopt program. I am just not willing to subject myself to that particular form of torture. I have already been through enough in my young life.

    I am still young, and my peers are young — why should my friends/relatives get to experience pregnancy and childbirth and raising a child from birth when I should be deprived of that? Why should I have to consider adoption when not a single one of my friends or relatives adopted? Why shouldn’t I get to experience a pregnancy when I have a healthy uterus, and a healthy body and mind? If it is important to me or any other woman to experience pregnancy and childbirth and to raise a child from birth, then that is what we should be allowed to pursue, instead of being asked or told that we should “just adopt”. (and I’m not saying you or anyone else here said “just adopt”, but “just adopt” is a common refrain that many people hear as soon as someone hears they are pursuing fertility treatment. And it is VERY annoying.)

    Just because we need A.R.T. to conceive a child doesn’t mean we should have to go into $80,000+ debt to adopt a child!

    I would adopt a baby in a minute if it wasn’t so horrifically expensive, both financially and emotionally.

  • http://www.myspace.com/racoon Thaele


    Just, wow. I think it should be said first that I am not a parent. I have never been pregnant, or intend to become pregnant so long as I am working as a full time retail sales associate. Which is why I think were this woman in the right frame of mind, she would have had the common sense to not have requested such services in the first place.

    So, not only is she out of her mind to want children when she already has little or no means to provide for the children she already has but she’s out of her mind to put the newest PREMATURE children in danger of many sicknesses from being in a multiple birth situation (as is the doctor that performed the invetro).

    I’m a woman. I want kids, but I think there is going to be a time and place for that when I’m ready financially to provide for them. It’s as simple as that. (Besides, haven’t we all seen the movie Idiocracy …? If we haven’t yet, we should!)

  • Erica

    I don’t have anything to say about the woman who had eight kids. I just love the fact that 228 people have commented on this subject. Don’t you love living in America?

  • Anonymous

    My husband and I are trying to conceive a second child and after six months without getting pregnant, my doctor put me on fertility medication with a planned IUI. The first IUI, which failed, was scheduled around the time this story came out, and we’re trying the same treatment again now. And the conclusions people are jumping to about infertility mediation, all the horror stories about risks for the mother and multiple births, constant reminders about how selfish women are to try to go against nature to force a pregnancy, etc., make an already painful and incredibly stressful experience even more difficult. I just want to hide when I hear these people rant about something they know nothing about. I’m so tired of hearing about this woman, what is there even to debate about her situation?

  • http://www.quarterlifeliving.blogspot.com/ quarterlifeliving

    Ok, reproductive rights aside…the real issue here is that of medical ethics. Basically, did the physician do what’s in the best interest of the patient (and her future children)as the Hippocratic oath states (and has He/She most likely pledged to do?) We are not designed to carry 8 babies (we are not cats, after all), and most halfway reasonable physicians will tell you that bringing, or attempting to bring, 8 children to term poses considerable risk to the mother as well as the children. Sometimes the physician has to act supercede the WANTS of a patient regardless of their mental faculties in order to preserve life. This was an irresponsible thing for the physician to do, Ms. Suleman’s desires aside.

    That physician did caste a negative shadow on all of IVF by choosing to do this, but once the sensationalism of the event is gone, and people’s relatively short attention span has been diverted elsewhere, hopefully couples will be able to pursue IVF again without fear.

  • Joe

    I didn’t read through all 200-plus comments, so please excuse me if I missed something. I didn’t see any feedback from any close personal friends or family members of Nadya here (and, personally, I try to turn a deaf ear to tabloid reporting), so ultimately there are FAR too many unknowns for any of us to be able to make reasonable judgement. That said, I have to wonder about the months/years leading up to the moment of truth. Was there any lengthy discussion about the potential futures and outcomes to this decision? If so, were there any continued discussions surrounding the outcome of those previous discussions? If a man wants to get a vasectomy “the right way” (read: not done with baling wire and a box cutter) there are considerable consults that one must undergo before being allowed to continue with mutilation of one’s self. I have to wonder if the process is as rigorous in this case….

    Regarding taking the children away from their mother: This would do little to lessen the burden to taxpayers. There is considerable tax money involved with the social services surrounding such actions. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Therefore, let ‘em grow up with their family. Ultimately, for the near-term anyhow, granny and grampy are there to help.

  • Doc in France

    My husband and I had serious difficulties and ended up seeking the help of an infertility specialist because, well, sometimes nature isn’t so natural, right? We’re fortunate enough to live in a country that considers reproductive problems important and has social medecine, so there was none of the issues about money like we would have had in the States. Thank God.

    However, the two specialists we saw left us both feeling like they thought themselves Dr. God. In a way they are. They think they do (and it is often the case) hold a couple’s chance of reproduction in their hands. It’s a huge role.

    Here in France, there are certain laws excluding a part of the population from certain reporductive prodecures. While a couple doesn’t have to be married, there does need to be some ‘common’ things and a certain length of time together. Single women can’t go and get knocked up. On the one hand, it prevents the kind of circus going on in California, but it also excludes a large chunk of women who could be excellent mothers because there’s no ‘father figure’ involved. The number of embryos that can be implanted is regulated as well.

    As for us, everything turned out great. I got pregnant after a minor procedure and managed to carry to term the most amazing little monkey. He was followed in short order by two little sisters–and it all happened naturally (except for the delivery part, but oh well). While I am honestly glad to have been saved from any more Dr God visits, I still credit the whole process with making my family happen. And I truly wish everyone had that option, that insurance or lack of was no issue, that a family can happen no matter the economic or social situation of the parents. Or parent.

  • chris

    If you are supportive of reproductive rights, you have to support the consequences of the choices that go with that. I DO NOT agree with her choice, but I ABSOLUTELY SUPPORT her right to choose.

  • http://whooosthatgirl.com Melissa

    I think that both the woman and the doctor made extremely poor choices and those decisions will forever affect those innocent fourteen children. There is no way that she is capable of providing for these children. Very, very selfish and so sad.

  • Shara

    See…here’s the thing – you’re right. Crazy woman, totally isolated incident (The Duggar Family aside that is….but she does that without infertility treatments). IVF and other treatments are an absolute gift to people who want children but have trouble conceiving, and shouldn’t be looked at as evil. What needs to happen is there needs to be *control* around the practice. Something like 50% of IVF pregnancies end with multiples, so (most) doctors know this and tend not to implant more than 4, to decrease the likelihood of these ‘super pregnancies’. That this particular doctor implanted so many, on a woman with proven fertility is negligent to the extreme and severe malpractice at a minimum. Please do not lump other doctors in with this irresponsible schmuck, regardless of whether you do or do not agree with infertility treatments. It’s sort of like using Dubya as a way to look at all of the U.S. Presidents.

    Additionally…i heard this phrase from a friend the other day…and it strikes me as something that would get a good laugh from you, Dooce. It does put it in perspective rather bluntly :D

    “It’s a vagina….not a clown car”

    Hopefully we can all play nice :D

  • http://www.myspace.com/racoon Thaele

    My last comment wasn’t fully finished– I totally forgot to mention that I really don’t feel it’s a matter of the ‘right’ to procreate vs the feeling I get that more and more of the US population is feeling that they are ENTITLED over being PRIVILEGED.

  • http://lesjoujou.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I agree with you Heather that this is an unfortunate situation. I also am having a hard time stopping myself from judging her but I do not think women’s reproductive rights should be called into question here. It’s sad that all these children are in the situation.

  • Anonymous

    How anybody can hold the tax dollars spent the major concern in this case is way beyond me. Any child is worth the costs of raising him/her. Period.

  • http://grommitblog.blogspot.com/ rdakin

    Let’s go with the obvious facts here. We have a young woman who, after giving birth to six children does not have a legitimate need for fertility treatments. This same woman has no employment and no other visible means of support for the children she already has. It is tough to argue the merits of adding more children to this situation and inconceivable (hah, a little pun there) that a doctor in possession of all of these facts would provide fertility treatments to this woman. Once those embryos were implanted, the ethical choices were all hers to make. She doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to making choices.

    So what do we do now? First, let’s not make any sweeping changes to regulations about fertility and childbirth. Why change the existing rights of women based on the bad decisions of one doctor and one woman? What about her children? How about giving her the benefit of the doubt. She should be given the same chance to raise her children that all other mothers get. If things being to go horribly pear-shaped, then the authorities should step in and make some decisions about how those children can best be provided for. As for the doctor that provided these fertility treatments, I agree with Heather. He should be disciplined and watched carefully by his peers, for any similar activities in the future.

  • Peggy

    Heather said: “Because all of a sudden people are now saying asinine things about how women should be forced to adopt if they can’t conceive a child without medicine…”

    All of a sudden? I’ve been in infertility and adoption circles– secondary infertility with one adopted child. Let me tell you, people have been saying this for a LONG time.

  • http://tsheva.deviantart.com Tracye

    I think her, that doctor, her sperm donor, and her parents should be locked up. This woman has no job. She has NO JOB. How did she pay for the invitro? And that effin manicure?! And all that expensive plastic surgery? She has no idea what she has done in order to fill her loneliness. I find the whole ordeal sad and disgusting. Especially how she thinks the world should send her money. Just because we can do a thing does not necessarily mean we should do that thing. That woman, is out of her mind.

  • Christie


    Kudos to you and all the womyn of momversation for having women of color on your panel. It means a lot to me, and I’m sure to a lot of other people. You rock, grrrrl!

    Always a fan,

  • http://scrappinjenny.blogspot.com Jennifer

    This whole situation is such a mess, isn’t it?

    I agree with you. I think a majority of the blame lies with the doctor who implanted so many embryos in this woman. It is his job to step back from the situation and evaluate it objectionably, which he obviously didn’t.

    I feel bad for Nadya because it was so obvious from all her interviews that she has some problems that haven’t been dealt with properly. She has issues with her mother and the fact that she was an only child, and how she felt she was not given the right kind of love growing up. It struck me as sad because I got the impression that she had all these children in the attempt to make up for that. And that is the wrong reason to bring children into this world.

    I hope that those children are being taken care of properly, and that she doesn’t pimp them out like Jon and Kate have done on their TV show. They deserve better than that.

  • http://tsheva.deviantart.com Tracye

    OK. After watching your video all I have to say is, who in the world invited Karen Walrond to the party? Send her packing cause she brought no snacks to the party, whatsoever.

    Wow. I think the fact that this woman who has been unemployed for a large majority of her adult life found a doctor with no scruples, no honor, no idea of who is going to take care of all those children is just mind-blowingly irresponsible.

    It was/is entirely selfish of Nadya to do this to her parents. I do not see someone independent, I see a succubus, a leech on society on her immediate family and people are like, well let’s not judge.

    Are you kidding me?

    I think she is a little disturbed and not living in the real world because if she were, she would have stopped at the first six children. Six children for a woman who isn’t working is enough AND she wants to finish up her degree…

    Yeah, let’s not judge her. Just send her some money and volunteer to babysit for her when she needs to go get a mani-pedi and another invitro procedure because, her mother? Is bone, dead, tired.

    Oh and by the way it was Nadya who sought out the media. She wanted this. She wanted to get endorsements like the other women who’ve had multiple births.

    The thought of bringing more than one child into this world as an unemployed woman would shake me to my core yet this woman took it thirteen steps further.

    Her selfishness will be her undoing.

  • http://www.libertypostgallery.blogspot.com Liberty Post Editor

    This whole scene is very scary. It is quite possible that anything could happen to anyone if the masses or majority or media make a decision to oust you. We all need to rethink this one. I can’t bare the thought of any baby being taken from their mama. P.S. I am pro-choice, very liberal and a mother of 4.

  • http://smilingbeguiling.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Well, where to begin.

    A) I’m a CA resident so Nadya’s actions & those of all the OTHERS involved — (i.e. the infertility clinic, the doctors/hospital that delivered those 8 babies, the “sperm donor” who is apparently the same man that provided the sperm for the other 6 children she already has, her parents who clearly have never said “No!” to Nadya in her entire life, the state of CA that gives her money, etc.) — directly affect me as an LA County taxpayer. And damnit, that’s reason enough to be pissed off!

    B) I am a single mother to a lovely & very much loved 2 year old daughter that I had “whoops” out of wedlock at the age of 39. No, I didn’t plan on her. Yes, she happened the old fashioned way. As much as I’d always wanted to be a mother, I’d NEVER have considered being a single mother & expecting the state of CA to pay for the stupidity of an idea that somehow I could bring a child into this world that I could little afford to care for. Let alone 14!!

    C) I am adopted. Was relinquished to the state of CA at 2 days old and “languished” in the LA County Foster Care System for 6 months until I was placed w/ my adoptive family. I’ve met my birthmother. She is Bi-polar. I was the youngest of FOUR babies that she had, the three youngest of us she gave away for adoption.

    D) I’ve spent the better part of the last 20+ years advocating for Open Records legislation in CA and elsewhere in the US to allow adult adoptees access to their original birth records. Not b/c we want to be reunited but b/c we’ll NEVER know the truth of our origins, our medical histories, etc. otherwise. Btw, I’d like to include ALL the children of IVF & AI who were conceived w/ anonymous sperm donors in that concept of openness as well. They have just as much right to know where they come from as I do.

    E) I have so many friends who have conceived (or tried to) via IVF and/or AI. Gay couples, and straight couples. While I don’t agree w/ the concept of the technology, I do know how much my friends desperately wanted their children and how PREPARED they are to care for them, love them, educate them, etc. until they are fully grown.

    I could go on and on about how wrong this whole thing is… and while I agree the fertility doctor should be sued for malpractice, the hospital should be sued by the state of CA for payment of of the Medi-Cal monies that went to keeping Nadya in hospital for 2 months before those babies were ever born, and so on, the ultimate responsibility lies with Nadya herself. There is NO way she’ll ever be able to care for those babies. Not all 14. Not in any quality kind of way. And who will suffer the most for that? No, not the children. Though they certainly will suffer…

    You and I will suffer. We will be paying for this mess for the lifetime of each and every child that woman gave birth to. And yeah, that pisses me off to no end. B/c it means my own child will likely suffer for the selfishness of Nadya Sulleman.

    Thanks Dooce. Good stuff, as always.

  • http://scarletvirago.blogspot.com Alex

    Bravo. What you said.

  • Kristine

    Oh, LPE, I’m sooo with you here. And Purple shoes said something similar. This is a free society and lots of crazy shit will happen because of that. And honestly I think this isn’t even remotely close to the worst of it. If she were an Irish Catholic married woman, not too many would flinch! What about that crazy family with the TV show? Yes, I’m being a bit silly, but still.

    I can’t comment on the fertility side because I’ve been lucky enough to conceive naturally twice (and hopefully just twice!). I’m probably just ignorant here, but I don’t see how this ridiculous doctor could damn the rest of those who need fertility treatment. Unless we continue to get all excited, and the din becomes a “let’s get her!” roar.

    The bottom line is that, money aside, fertility aside, I would rather help these kids with my tax dollars so that they can stay with their Mother than use those tax dollars to rip them away and have them placed in foster care. And if she needs therapy…wait, what am I saying? I need therapy with just 2 kids. I just think we should be channeling some more positive energy with this whole situation …it also makes me uneasy to think of the children being taken from the only mother they know.

    And I’m sure many of you are thinking, “but she’s crazy!” Eh. I don’t know. Maybe. Who isn’t? I doubt she’s fucking them up as badly as, say, an functioning alcoholic who’ll never get this kind of attention. Do you know how many parents there are like that out there? This is just all a very dangerous slippery slope to me.

  • Anonymous

    I was fortunate enough to not struggle with infertility and my heart goes out to those who have. But Nadya Suleman wasn’t infertile, she was single, there’s a difference. And as much as people have demonized her, and maybe rightly so, the bottom line is that there are 14 babies to worry about, and proposing to take them away from their mother isn’t a solution. And making an example of Nadya Suleman in reference to other infertile couples doesn’t make sense either.

  • meg

    to me, the doctor who gave this woman treatment is ethically unsound. it is an isolated case. i wonder how many embroys were implanted. i feel for the girl. it seems she has some emotional issues about love. all of her children deserve more than they will probably get. it’s a sad situation for the kids. i just hope this example of a bad doctor will get couples/people to check out all of their doctors more carefully.

  • Catherine C

    I’m interested in the adoption comments more than anything else personally. Perhaps some people are not as comfortable with the idea but I was raised in a situation where I was aware of the concept of adoption from a fairly young age. My mother works for DCS and while neither myself nor my sister were adopted we are fairly knowledgeable about the process. I cannot understand how people can put themselves through expensive and life threatening procedures (to themselves and their children) when there are so many kids in the foster care system.

    I do understand why this particular woman wouldn’t adopt. No agency in their right mind would place a child in her care. Adoptions require home studies and court approval and numerous other checks to determine the abilities of the would be parents, but this woman can walk into a clinic and become impregnated with eight fetuses!

    I am not trying to guilt people with infertility problems into adopting, I plan to have children of my own someday. But I am also waiting til I finish school and am in an emotional and financial position to take care of them. I’m 25 and if she has had 7 pregnancies over the past 7 years that puts her at just my age when she began having children. There was time to wait.

    Personally my perspective is that there should be no “right” to having children, and that parenting should be a privelege.

  • conz

    My sister’s second child is special needs. So they stopped having kids. He needs much of their (financial and emotional) resources, and has already benefited from govmt funded programs and he is only 3. How the hell could you have 8 more kids when you already have mutliple special needs children? Not just because I assume you have a conscience, but really, who the hell is going to raise these babies?

    Oh and I heard that her sperm donor BEGGED her not to have more kids. PHFFFFFT.

  • http://www.soeursdujour.com/ margie

    i think you are right to a certain extent. we have to be careful that we don’t judge situations that we are really uninformed about. not that i agree with this situation, not that i want children brought into this world on a whim. it’s a tough call. do i think the woman was wrong. probably.

  • Valeri

    Another thought: we don’t get to infringe on the reproductive rights of the fertile. Why do we only get to tell the people who CAN’T have kids how many kids they can and cannot have? Personally, I know a family that is unemployed (and not due to the economy. They have been unemployed off and on for the last five years), they live with their parents…. and they shouldn’t have had TWO kids. But because they could do so naturally, we don’t get to tell them their business?

    This is a slippery slope, guys. If we start by saying you can only implant two, next thing you know it’s going to be a one kid policy like China.

  • http://whichhammer.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    Ok, here I go because I HAVE to log in on this one…I am a 46 yr old female..In the 80′s,I wanted to have a baby with my then husband. In those days, to even qualify for IVF there were certain protocols that were standard. We had to go through a certain amount of testing (it took about two years) to even qualify for IVF. Insurance would not cover ANY of the testing, so we were doing this baby thing out of pocket..I have receipts that I kept totally somewhere around 75,000 dollars..We never had that baby..At that time,we even had to undergo home study and psychological profiling to make sure we were stable enough to undergo IVF…Now, it seems, we have Jon and Kate making huge sums by putting their children on television..And I would assume Ms. Suleman will get offers to do all kinds of things with her children…For those who want just that ONE experience of parenting this has to be a huge slap in the face…Yes, I’m judgemental about it. I think the system failed tremendously when a fertility specialist didn’t properly screen this patient and put those babies in a situation that they didn’t ask for…..I don’t say poor Ms Suleman…I feel sorry for ALL those babies…

  • Just Visiting

    I’m not going to say what she did was right. And, I’m not going to say what she did was wrong.

    But, I do sometimes wonder if maybe she is addicted (in a sense) to being pregnant.

    I only hope that the children have as normal a childhood as possible given the situation.

  • Fiat Lex

    The difference between Nadya Suleman and the Duggars is that the latter are bringing children into a tight-knit, supportive community. It may not be one that left-leaning feminist pro-choicers (me included) like, but it’s a community nonetheless, and one that will be able to pick up any slack that a pair of overworked parents may let fall.

    Secondly, the Duggar children are spaced out chronologically so that the older ones can help care for the younger ones. Is it an ideal childhood by post-baby boom standards? No, but it was very common just a few generations ago. And perhaps it’s not such a bad idea to give kids more responsibility than letting them choose between the soccer team and hockey lessons. Has self-actualization at any cost really done us much good?

    Lastly, the Duggars didn’t risk disabling their children by undergoing high-risk pregnancies. I think there are one or two sets of twins in there, but nothing on this scale of expense and health risk.

    I can understand the desire not to judge this situation because of the slippery slope it implies. However, not all choices are equally valid. They’re just not. Refusing to judge Nadya Suleman and the doctors who enabled her is moral relativism run amok. Maybe if we brought back shame and judgment as permissible tools in polite, educated society we wouldn’t be dealing with a economic collapse predicated on short-sighted greed and a self-centered unwillingness to delay gratification for even a moment.

  • Doc in France

    For Catherine C.

    Just who decides who has the “right” to have children? Do we have a battery of tests to take first? Is there a specific income level? Genetic factors? Social standards?

    Come on! A right? If all parents had to meet the standards that most agencies set for adoption, there’s be a serious population decline. And look at all the cases when children have been placed in foster care in families that have checked out fine — families that had earned ‘The Right’ to children and have ended up worse off, or even dead.

    No system is perfect. And while I personally think adoption is a fantastic idea, it’s not one that works for everyone. Some people simply cannot adopt, are incapable of loving a child that’s not of their own making like it’s their own.

  • Patti

    Ok, just to clarify some of the much-repeated but completely wrong facts.

    “she’s not infertile, she’s just single” WRONG. She did have fertility issues, both fibroids and tubal issues.

    “she transferred 8 embryos” WRONG. She transferred 6, she ended up with two sets of identical twins. For the record, this is the same number of embryos that Jon and Kate transferred (granted there were two of them and they both had jobs) and this is the same number of embryos that she had transferred for her previous pregnancies.

    If you’re going to rant at least get the facts right.

  • Lisa

    “This is what happened to Jon & Kate Plus Eight, as well as many of the other multiple births that have made the news.”

    They conceived with IUI, not IVF – big difference.

    We conceived twins with IUI. Infertility is incredibly painful and heartbreaking on so many levels that you can’t understand until you live through it. I would never tell a woman they don’t have the right to undergo treatment…unless the woman is nuts, as this woman clearly is. She’s insane and had no right to bring those poor babies into her delusional, psychotic world. Now that they’re here, they should ALL be taken from her and given, hopefully, to people who will care for them, can afford them, and can give them the attention they will all need but will absolutely NOT get from that woman. It is not humanly possible for a sane woman in her position (no job, house, spouse, savings, etc) to support and properly care for those kids. It’s most certainly not possible for a nutjob like her to do it. Unfortunately, I agree with #105 who essentially said they’re all destined for failure unless they’re taken from her. It’s terribly sad.

    And that “doctor” and I use that term lightly, should have his testicles ripped off and shoved up his nose.

  • Samantha

    This sure is a stickler of a situation. On one hand, I don’t blame anyone for getting IVF and struggling with infertility. That’s not the issue. The issue is that this woman who hasn’t worked in years, is unmarried and lives with her parents was able to go out and have 14 kids through infertility treatments. Where do you draw the line? An adoption agency would look into the home situation and make an ethical judgement if a person or couple could adopt one of their kids–why can’t there be something like that for fertility treatments? Not saying that someone should be married, but at least be able to provide a stable environment and support for the children they are about to conceive.

    I know some will say “well what about those people who conceive naturally but can’t support their children?” That’s true, but these people, like adoption are not having the children naturally, they are seeking medical intervention to reproduce a child. And this case is just ridiculous. I think it’s probably more an isolated incident than the norm, but good lord. She’s used disability money from the state to have 14 kids she can’t even support, and now tax payers are going to have to support her.

    I think you misunderstand the issue as being about the woman having kids–it’s more about the situation she selfishly brought those poor kids into and her doctor, who should be responsible, not stepping in and attempting to put a stop to it.

  • Anonymous

    My daughter was born in 2007 after I received treatment for infertility. It makes me sad to think that one extreme case may result in limits being set. I think you said it perfectly when you talked about the heartache of infertility… how having the government all up in your biz is not another thing infertile couples need. yeah i feel bad for the 14 suleman kids, but I’m sure there are plenty of other kids out there who have it worse.

    and all this crap about welfare…people need to get a grip.

  • Amanda

    Here is my question: how can someone with no job and 6 children afford IVF? Who paid for THAT?!

  • Ann

    Well said. I went through infertility treatments for awhile and it’s easy to see how people lose their way. The medicines and treatments are expensive and patients in those programs are sometimes at their last chance to give birth to a baby, it can be a volatile mix. A “set of standards that works for all infertility patients” ends up working for no one. Each case is unique. I agree with you that we shouldn’t suddenly slap limits on people because of one practice who used questionable judgement.
    Just when I think I can’t be surprised by the news anymore, up comes another story of wierdness.

  • cate

    I won’t get into a lot of the ethics, etc beyond to say that I think, personally, that it’s irresponsible to have so many children, especially if you don’t have a way to take care of them properly.

    But the thing I wanted to say, that I find incredibly sad is this: I was reading an article online yesterday and somewhere the bottom they said that Suleman’s publicist(!) has been forwarded hundreds of threats made against Suleman and her children. I’m sorry, what? I don’t approve or condone threats against her (why do these people have so much time on their hands? some of your less cool readers, perhaps?) but threatening the children?!?!?!?! what are they supposed to do? and what kind of threat could someone possibly make against a baby? ridiculous…

    PS i LOVE your new masthead

  • Susan

    I will admit that I have openly and willingly judged this woman and her doctor for this hard to fathom, unfortunate situation. That said, I appreciate this Momversation, and the comments here, which have opened my opinion beyond the (hopefully) isolated incident, and the consequences of what judging this situation could be. I can’t necessarily say where I stand on it all but my thoughts are much broader and more complex now.

    Above all, like everyone else, I hope someone is looking out for the octuplets, their siblings, mother, and grandparents. They all have a rough road ahead of them, and they will need any support possible. Crazy lady or not, those kids are gonna need loved.

    Heather, thanks for starting the Momversation and opening the minds of people like me, who may be quick to judge and fail to look for the larger picture in all this.

  • Stacy

    As a mom who only became one because of IVF after 5 years of infertility, I don’t think it’s fair to judge her. I had 3 embryos transferred on my second IVF. My doctor (a Reproductive Endocrinologist) only wanted to transfer 2 but I wanted all 3. She agreed but only because the quality of 2 of the embryos was not very good. Only one of the 3 embryos transferred survived and became my son.

    A big difference between Suleman and myself, her embryos were the result of an FET, Frozen Embryo Transfer, not a fresh IVF cycle. (One of the things that really bothers me about this story is the misinformation from the journalists who should know better!) The chances of an FET being successful are much much lower than an IVF (my chances were less than 30% for a fresh IVF). When you do IVF and you have produced enough good quality embryos some of those can be frozen and used later on in an FET, or donated to be studied (if you don’t want more children) or destroyed at your request. Suleman had to pay every month to keep the embryos on ice and she is VERY prolife so for her there was only one decision and it was likely a financial, as well as, emotional decision. She was against having the embryos destroyed or used in research so to her, in her expression of reproductive freedom, she chose to have all 6 transferred. I heard her say in her Today show interview, that this was her last attempt and whatever happened, it was the end of the road. There is no way she could have expected to have 8 babies from the FET of 6 embryos. We have no idea about the quality of the 6 embryos transferred in the FET. Would people feel differently if the embryos were really bad quality but ended up surviving anyway? What if only one or two were “good quality” and she just wanted to give them all a chance at life? There are so many factors in this story that never get discussed or just get turned around to make it more sensational and less factual.

    Where are the right-to-lifers in all of this? She did exactly what they suggest. She gave all 6 of her embryos a chance to survive and it seems to me they should be supporting her, her decision, and the results of that decision, her children.

    I would not have made the same decision Suleman made but I can not judge her for it because I respect her right to choose for herself and her children. She really wants to be a mom and really seems to love all of her kids. It will be impossible to care for these kids without help so why don’t people stand up and help her instead of try to knock her down?

  • http://domestiquette.net Wendy

    People are saying these things? Really?

    What I’ve mostly heard is that she belongs in a mental institution (getting some much needed help), and the doctor who did it belongs in jail. Or at least, not practicing any form of medicine anymore.

    I may agree with both of those sentiments. You know, as an observer who only knows what she’s seen on TV.

    Any more blanket statements about fertility in general are … stupid, like most blanket statements are.