An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

And here I thought one was a total kick in the ass

This week I started a Momversation about the ethics of planned multiple births, or more specifically, holy cow, that woman has 14 kids. See here:

I wanted to bring this discussion here because I’m sure you’ve all got opinions about this story, and I’m willing to bet that a few of you let out a more than audible, “Do what?” when it was revealed that Nadya Suleman not only gave birth to premature octuplets, but that she also had six other kids waiting for her at home. And she lives with her mom. And she doesn’t have a job. And the father is not involved whatsoever. Did that story just get weirder and weirder, or what, right? It got to the point where I wouldn’t have been surprised if they reported that she kept all the placentas in her freezer so that if she ever ran out of strawberries she’d have something with which to make smoothies.

I remember where I was when I first heard about this story, and before any of the various details came out about this woman and her situation I told Jon, just wait. People are going to get all bent out of shape now about reproductive medicine. And in watching and reading the reactions to this story, I believe this is exactly what has happened. And dear lord, if people who struggle with infertility didn’t need more heartache and obstacles put in their way. As I say in the video, it’s such a shame that the media has turned this into such a circus, this isolated incident involving an obviously questionable and renegade doctor who I think holds most of the blame if there is any in this situation. And all it serves to do is make it harder for other people, other reasonable individuals, to explore their reproductive options. 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, or how the people of California should be able to force Nadya to give up her children because their tax dollars are being used to help raise them. Yes, how about we give a multiple choice test to women and let a committee decide who is and who isn’t fit to be a mother. Anyone with tattoos need not apply!

Is this an unfortunate and complicated situation? Absolutely, and I do not think it is physically possible for one person to take care of the basic needs of 14 children. She is going to need a considerable amount of help, and as much as people might be disgusted by Nadya, there are 14 children here who had no say at all as to what conditions they’d be born into. But again, I think this is an extremely isolated incident, and making sweeping statements and judgments about women’s reproductive rights and options because of it is ill-conceived and bone-headed.

I can’t believe I’m going to open comments on this because I imagine there will be a lot of screaming, but I’d love to hear from men and women who have struggled with infertility and would encourage others to listen to their side of this issue. Everyone play nice.

  • I think it is important to consider first how this woman’s story would be played out in the media if the birth of her children occurred naturally. I think plenty of people would be disgusted by the idea of our tax dollars going to pay for these 14 children, considering the home environment, but I doubt anyone would seriously be considering removing the children from the home and many would point out that a LOT of us have grandparents who themselves were likely one of 13 or 14. It was not so long ago that having that many children in a family was commonplace.

    At what point do we decide that the government can regulate how many children we have and at what income level we have to be at before having our next and what family structure is suitable? Do we want to give up those rights because some individuals choose to abuse them? It is a significant fact, in this case, that all her babies were created with the help of modern medicine (in vitro, IVF, etc.), to be sure, but you start down a slippery slope when you begin to regulate these choices for everyone.

    You can say that the doctor had some moral obligation to step in and stop this, but do we really want our doctors making our moral decisions for us (even if, in this one case, it might have been for the best)? Because once our choices are taken away, it is very, very hard to get them back. How many laws, no matter how obsolete, have ever actually been taken off the books? I don’t know about you, but although it’s probably a good thing that you could get into serious legal trouble if you are found driving with an uncaged bear in your car, if only in Missouri, I’m not sure I need a law to make that call for me or for you. And thank goodness I’m not a resident of Pittsburgh or I’d be doing life without parole for the amount of dirt under my rugs –

    I’m perfectly capable of making my own choices about what my family looks like and any laws, restrictions, regulations that come out of this woman’s story are laws, restrictions and regulations that limit my rights as well.

  • Eve

    I have a hard time talking about Nadya Suleman without feeling defensive for her. She went to a very unsuccessful IVF doctor who routinely implanted several embryos to try to make up for his horrible live birth rates. I read that she had 6 embryos implanted for each of her singleton births, as well as the one set of twins and the 8 babies this go-round. How was she to anticipate two sets of identical twins forming and each of the embryos implanting this time? She couldn’t have. I will not judge her for that, nor will I judge her for deciding not to selectively reduce the embryos once they implanted.

    I do feel like my reproductive rights are already infringed upon when I have to pay out of pocket to get pregnant because I experienced infertility. I just wish more people could have compassion and realize how damn lucky they are for not having to make the choices that many of us do.

    It makes me sick when people suggest Nadya’s children should be taken away because she has “too many”. What happened to tolerance?

  • Allyson

    This is a tough one, but I have to go with my knee-jerk reaction upon first hearing about Octo-Mom. Totally irresponsible of both her and her Dr. It totally galls me that she’s on government assistance while choosing to be a baby farm. She’s condemning these kids to a life of poverty and neglect. Now I’m not saying that she doesn’t love her children, I have no way of knowing that. But she knowingly and willingly pretty much tossed whatever meager future the already existing children right out the window. While the idea of “too many” kids being governed or decided by some other higher-up totally rankles, what kind of chance are these kids going to have if left with her?
    I’m a single mother of two small girls, one with severe special needs and mean to tell you, it’s a strugle, even working full time. I have the love and support of a wonderful extended family but even with those’s hard as heck and the idea of a third child is a joke. Again…irresponsible and so sad.

  • e

    Child #1 – Future manic depressive
    Child #2 – Will commit Suicide
    Child #3 – Future Drug dealer
    Child #4 – Future Animal abuser
    Child #5 – Will end up in Jail
    Child #6 – Will have multiples of her own
    Child #7 – Future Child Molester
    Child #8 – Will die from complications from birth
    Child #9 – Will die from complications from birth
    Child #10 – Will live in a group home
    Child #11 -Will be Murdered
    Child #12 – Will be battered by spouse
    Child #13 – Will be anorexic
    Child #14 – will be the only one successful and graduate from college

  • Sol

    It broke my heart to see footage of those little 8 babies in their incubators. My son was born at 30 weeks and 1.7 lb, we stayed 87 days in the NIcU. He went through a fucking lot and he came out perfectly, but the doctors told me repeatedly that the fact that I was by his side night and day made the difference. I couldn’t help but sob when I saw those little ones with one fourteenth of a mother each and how sad, lonely and helpless they must feel. That woman is fucked up but I really hope that someone helps these babies.

  • Morgaine

    I am in a Womens Psychology class and this was brought up, I think I was the only person on the side of reproductive freedom, which extends not only to freedom to limit the size of our families, but also freedom to have as many children as we want. Whether that be 1 or 18 (or more). Yes, I think she made some poor choices, as did her doctor, but it really isn’t up to us to decide how many children someone has, we don’t have to really live with her choices, she does.

    Which is something that those opposed to reproductive freedom seem to forget all the time.

  • Whitney

    I think some people are mistaken in thinking that she could conceive on her own. I read that she can’t, and that all her other children were IVF.

  • Amanda

    I second your idea that the doctor likely holds most of the blame for the octuplets.

    My husband & I are just about to begin trying to get pregnant using ART (assisted reproductive technologies). In our case, we know so far that my pituitary does not produce the correct hormones in the correct amount to ovulate. Our reproductive endocrinologist gave us the low-down on our treatment (injectable hormones!) and also was very specific in terms of how we will avoid multiple births. In his practice, they scan your uterus via ultrasound prior to insemination to see how many mature follicles there are. If there are 4 or more–he cancels the cycle. If there are 1,2, or 3, we choose if we want to go ahead. (The chances of 2 or 3 eggs being fertilized and implanted are not really all that good).

    So to sum up, specialists out there certainly CAN exert their influence to prevent multiple multiple births–they just have to want to do that.

  • Anonymous

    for woman who had a back injury debilitating enough to earn her over 150k in disability, I would like to know how she could physically handle any birthing of the first six??
    As for who will help her – she has proven inability to make sound judgments with consideration of end results, and will eventually choose caregivers that might put her kids in harms way, or who only care to profit from their association with the family.
    I think she is a nutbag, and I feel sad for those children.
    I feel this in no way should cast a shadow on reproductive medicine, but sadly it likely does.

  • Jill

    Me and my husband underwent over 10 years of infertility treatments and never had a biological child. After years of heartache and 4 miscarriages, we were blessed to adopt our beautiful daughter last month. From someone who’s gone through every test and procedure imaginable, I can’t believe she would keep putting her body through this over and over again. There were days when I was so crazy from all the hormones and steroids, not to mention the physical discomfort of bloating, injection site pain, etc. that I could barely function…..let alone take care of multiple children already in my care. I think she has mental problems – almost like a “hoarder” of children. I think her doctor is just as much to blame as she is. My doctor would never hear of transferring 6 embryos. That’s insane! But like Heather said, regardless of what we think of her, her kids are the ones who will suffer in all of this. I can’t even imagine what their little lives will be like growing up in that home. We need to pray for them and hope that nothing like this ever happens again.

  • Erin

    Does anyone else have trouble not paying attention to this story? I know the last thing we should be giving Nadya is more attention, but I find it so hard to look away! It is probably the same reason I watch Jon and Kate Plus 8. (Who btw did not have the same procedure, but rather had sextuplets as a result of overstimulated ovaries. I am not saying this is completely right either, but in my eyes it is much better than implementing 6 eggs).

    I really hope that her Nadya’s children get the love and attention every child deserves, but I do not see that happening in this situation. However, I really could not tell anyone what the best solution would be.

    I really hope this does not have an effect on how all people seeking infertility help are treated! That was the last thing on my mind when this happened. Yes, I am sure this happends more than it should, but I would hope that this only results in patients being more educated about implanting too many eggs. At the same time I fear that it will only bring more crazies out who are seeking fame and infinite amounts of children.

    The whole situation is a freaking mess!!! There seems to be no right answer at all. The only conclusion I can come to is that Nadya is crazy!

  • Rachelle

    This is such a sad case… sad for the kids. It’s disgusting to think that a parent who cannot meet her kids needs goes out and gets pregnant again. Willfully. I think the doctor and the mother should be held accountable. Obviously this woman has problems. BUT WHAT DO WE DO? I don’t think it’s fair for taxpayers to support her, and I don’t think she should get a TV show or book/movie deal. That would almost justify what she did and send the wrong message. I don’t think anyone should send her money… if you want to help the children send diapers, formula, food donations, or toys/clothes.

  • And here I thought having one kid might be the craziest thing I’ll ever do…

  • joy

    it’s all about ethics. medical ethics. maternal ethics. women get to decide what they do with their bodies. doctors should have some governing body that decides when they have gone over the edge.

    this woman would never have been able to get to this ridiculous place, without the doctor.

    if there is any blame to be spread, the doctor is covered in it.


  • Anonymous

    If you can afford $100,000 worth of IVF, you don’t qualify for disability nor food stamps. This woman is committing welfare fraud.

    Her parents went to this doctor and begged him not to impregnate her again because they were overwhelmed and had to file for bankruptcy. They told him she had no job, no partner, was on welfare, etc… and he ignored them. I wish we could make this doctor foot the bill for these kids.

    I’ve been going through fertility treatments as well and when I asked my doctor what he would have done with a woman in that situation, he said he would have referred her to a psychiatrist. The doctor absolutely has the right to say no.

    I don’t put all of the blame on Nadya because she’s obviously mentally ill. She’s got an addiction to babies and it completely out to lunch when it comes to understanding the consequences of her actions. There’s a 0% chance that she can single-handedly raise these children alone.

    I don’t know what the answer is when it comes to raising these children but I do think some regulation of the fertility industry is in order.

  • I don’t feel comfortable indicting the doctor because I don’t know the specifics. If the mother was aware of the risks and intended to have 8 children, I’m inclined to place the blame on her. From what I’ve seen, she’s enjoying the media frenzy.

    Two things stick with me: Her web site asking for money from people (in addition to her government assistance), and the interview with her own mother.

    I don’t know. I’m concerned primarily with the welfare of these children–not only her new litter of 8, but also the six already at home.

    I think CPS would do well to keep an eye on the family to make sure neglect doesn’t become an issue. As far as this impacting the future of reproductive rights, time will tell. Plenty of responsible and hopeful parents undergo IVF and other fertility treatments.

  • Another Stephanie

    As someone smack dab in the middle of fertility treatments, who just happens to live in Massachusetts where insurance coverage for IVF is required by law, I can tell you that so many of these multiple situations (including the one in question, for all I know) would be avoided if health insurance providers were more generous with their fertility coverage. Because we have the option of trying IVF again (and up to six times in my lifetime) under our plan, there is no question that our first try will be a single embryo. Because we can try again if this fails. I have tremendous sympathy for couples who ask/insist that several embryos be implanted, risking a multiple pregnancy, if their insurance only covers a small number of procedures. Of course, the more you implant, the more chances you have of conceiving.

    But I have to say, that our doctor’s practice has a policy of limiting the number of embryos that will be implanted, even in the oldest women, and I for one take comfort in that. I don’t see it as limiting my choices, but rather as one of many precautions put in place to protect both my health and the health of my potential child.

  • I do not at all see this as a fertility issue. This woman did not have trouble with fertility. She is just plain crazy.

    I think these children should be taken away from her for just this reason. How can a woman with her mental health issues possibly raise 14 children? No, these children did not ask to be born, but at the same time, now that they exist, they need some stable homes where they can be raised with some sort of normality.

    She is the worst sort of cheat…not only is she trying to cheat the system, but she is cheating these 14 little souls who deserve better.

  • Anonymous

    The bottom line is that she could not have had this many children without medical intervention and her mental state seems questionable – no ethics board fearing doctor in their right mind should have implanted 8 babies. I think fertility treatment absolutely should be regulated because the odds that 8 babies would have some sort of medical issues is not low – she beat those odds but now look at the odds these poor children will have to overcome.

  • I have been thinking about this story a lot lately. My husband and I have one little boy who is 3 1/2. We’ve been trying for number two for about a year and a half with no success. I knew there was something “wrong” and was just recently diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

    It’s frustrating to me on many levels that this woman, who has no job or financial means of paying for these treatments, is able to do this. I think she was selfish in her choice to do have another group of children, especially when she knew going forward that the likelihood of multiple births was high. Most doctors are saying that the maximum implantation is six, but the norm is two…maybe three at a time. I agree with you that the doctor is the one who should be criticized along with Ms. Suleman herself. She made the selfish decision to do this, and her doctor didn’t stop her. I think they were both in it for the noteriety they knew would be sure to follow such a birth.

    As for me, we’re not doing in vitro. I’m sure with Clomid and a myriad of other things available to PCOS patients, we’ll be able to get pregnant, but if we don’t, I have one beautiful little boy, so that’s okay.

    One of the most basic human rights is the ability to reproduce or to choose not to do so. To mess with that is opening a Pandora’s Box…I don’t think we need to go there. I think maybe rules should be more defined as far as how many embryos can be implanted, but I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know how helpful that would be.

    As someone struggling with secondary infertility, I guess my frustration is with people making blanket judgements on those truly needing infertility treatments. There are other reasons to have these treatments besides having children. Not being able to get pregnant is only a part of what can lead to very serious health problems in the future if it’s not treated correctly. Because I don’t ovulate regularly on my own, does that mean I don’t get to have any more kids? Does that mean that I have to suffer the other health consequences of this diagnosis? I shouldn’t have to fight for my healthcare because of the choice of one stupid doctor and one stupid woman.

    Heather, I’m a regular reader of your blog and I thank you for bringing this up. As for me, I’m happy to have my little boy and my little family. If it stays little, that’s okay. If we get to add more, that’s okay too.

  • Lauren

    I’m very surprised at so many people criticizing the doctor. I lay blame only on Nadya Suleman. If we don’t want our government to be deciding our reproductive choices then why would we want doctors to make those choices for us? We are responsible for ourselves and our decisions.

    As the oldest of eight, I’m all for large families. But I’m also all for responsibility and financial stability before taking on something like this.

    She is irresponsible, potentially bat shit crazy and sort of makes my super-leftish-self long for free markets.

    At least until I think of those cute little babies and click on the link in comment 50.

  • Kel

    It’s sad that such a negative light is being cast on women who want to use IVF.
    This Nadya lady is an isolated case and shouldn’t change how people feel about IVF. I’m all about people taking responsibility for their own actions but seriously- what the hell was that doctor thinking?
    I feel bad for the her kids, they had no control over what living situation they were brought into and now they end up having to deal with the brunt of it.
    By the way does anyone else think it’s weird how much the “facts” about this case has changed over time?

  • Nat W.

    I think that doctor is negligent and irresponsible. That’s all I have to say.

  • Beads

    Her fertility doctor should be slapped with the bill instead of the taxpayers.

  • Rachel B.


    You are, once again, RIGHT ON! Let’s put the focus on the 14 children who did not choose this fate. They still deserve to be loved and cared for. This is an isolated case getting all of the attention.

  • Okay, so clearly this woman is ‘lipstick on your forehead’ nuts. And clearly, she’s got an unhealthy infatuation with birthin’ babies and Angelina Jolie. And it’s evident as well, that she sought out and found a quack of a doctor who, as you mentioned, made things all that much more difficult for people already in a really difficult situation. All that being said, however, there are 14 children in the mix here and I just hope to God, Allah, Xenu, whoever, that she is given help in the form of volunteers and donations becuase good god those children need it. I’m worried about what this picture will look like in 10 years from now….UGH!

  • I’m a survivor of infertility. It took 5 IVF cycles to conceive my son and another IVF cycle and I am currently pregnant with twins (two embryos were transferred).

    There are numerous factors about this situation that really bother me —
    1) Why on earth would her doctor transfer that many embryos? No doctor in their right mind would do that. He needs to be fired. But at the same time I worry about what this will do to fertility regulations in the United States. We do not need a million laws to regulate all of this, we just need intelligent people inserting the catherer.

    2) On the Today show she claimed that she has a “victim” of an only child household and her kids were her way to make up for that. I think this statement in and of herself makes her crazy. She has 6 kids at home already, how on earth can she be lonely and think that more children was going to be the solution?

    3) There are 14 children who will be homeless soon, with a single mother who does not have a job. While I don’t advocate taking children away except in extreme situations, this situation seems extreme. I hope that she is able to get the help she needs and that the children are able to have their needs met, someway, somehow.

    Great post, Heather. 🙂

  • EmJay

    For all outward indications this woman manipulates everyone around her. I suspect there is more story where the Dr. is concerned with her not being totally truthful. I don’t know enough about reproductive technologies, but my guess is she gamed that system as well. Totally agree about the kids. What’s done is done and now there are 14 kids who need a decent chance in life just like all of our kids. I just hope she doesn’t end up on with a series on Discovery channel. I just don’t think that is the right dynamic for that family.

  • L.

    I think one can’t properly opine on this one without taking qyad mom’s well-publicized (and enlarged upon by the mom herself ) Angelina Jolie fixation into consideration….spooky.

    And while on the one hand I might wonder if the fertility doc who would fertilize 8 eggs in a woman with 6 kids is completely out of his (or her) freaking mind, that immediately calls up the Big Brother alert for me and I think: do we want the docs making the morality calls? Nope. Still, if I were a fertility doc I wouldn’t have done it. (I myself had two planned pregnancies exactly when I wanted them, one girl, one boy, perfect pregnancies, perfect deliveries, perfect perfect, and then I had my tubes tied at age 29, so I’m hardly qualified to comment on the anguish of intertility and I understand that and I respect that and I stand back from so doing. And I’m completely thankful for having been dealt that particular hand.)

  • Julie

    On the way to my embryo transfer, my husband was practicing saying “Only one, only one.” When we got there and I was up in the stirrups, the doc said “Here’s a picture of the two eggs I’m putting in.” Neither my husband or I said anything.
    We now have 2 beautiful girls and are so glad that they have each other. I know God did this and it was meant to be.
    However, if the doc had said, “here are the six I’m putting in” I would have definitely questioned him!! Nadya and the doctor both knew what they were doing and they both should have known that it wasn’t in the best interest of the children.

  • Anonymous

    I’m 6 mo pregnant with my first after 3 failed IUIs and 2 failed IVFs. I say that the government needs to stay out of our collective panties. I’m also an avid pro-lifer. I don’t feel that these two concepts are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe she should have reduced. But, I also don’t believe that she (and her physician) should have transferred 6 embryos after her history of successful IVF.

    Taking her children away is not ok, though. If she’s not abusing them or neglecting them, she should be treated no differently than a woman who conceived 14 children naturally. Welfare or not.

    This has just become the perfect shit storm for the media. Quack doctor, unstable mom, miraculous record-breaking birth. These are the insanely fringe situations that make people feel like they have to prevent it from ever happening again. That’s a shame because even though we disagree with it, we need to remember that when we chip away at her rights, we’re hurting ourselves.

  • You are so right. The backlash against ART is what scares us. I wrote about it here:

    Now, the whole plastic surgery and Angelina obsession thing, well, that doesn’t help either.

  • Victoria

    For all the people who think that mandatory screening and psychological assessments be required for people to go through infertility treatment, I ask: Are you ready to go through that to have a child? The vast majority of people can and do have children “naturally” and we are not requiring them to go through invasive tests, questions, procedures. And they get to do it for free.

    People should not judge and attempt to apply “standards” to any situation that they have not been through themselves.

  • Lisa

    Frankly, I think they should have stopped implanting at two kids especially since she is a single Mom and unemployed.

    Look at what’s happening right now in this country. Companies are laying off THOUSANDS of people. How the heck are we going to feed all these people? Sometimes technology just goes way too far. It’s sad that the babies are being kept alive at all costs. When did medical care become free?

    The earth is going to be so crowded and filled to the prim with filt and garbage if we don’t stop breeding. It is sad when people who want kids can’t make them. Maybe if there was less stigma on giving up children if people really didn’t mean to have them. Look at how full the prisons are of people who were brought up by people who didn’t want them.

    I think this woman is mentally ill and the loving thing for her to do it to give those 8 babies up for adoption. Love and being a responsible human being are sometimes two different issues. This woman has no support system and it is not going to be pretty when she finally realizes what she has gotten herself into. Those poor kids.

    How about the new story about the guy who has come forward who says he’s the octodad?

  • I think there are two things that bother me most about this entire story:

    1) The idea that people are callous and misunderstanding enough to think that removing children from the only home and parents they’ve known is the best possible solution.

    2) The idea that adoptive parents are the “be all, end all” solution to this issue.

    This woman has suffered from depression for a long time, and removing the one source of joy she has in her life (her kids) is not going to make her “happy” or fix the issue. In fact, at that point, I would venture to guess that instead, she would try to have even more kids to fill that void in her life yet again.

    Please also know, that adoptive parents are human. Meaning, they love, care, nurture equally in volume as biological parents…. they also abuse, neglect, and mistreat equally in volume as biological parents. It’s just more “hidden” from society’s view in adoption because what would happen to future unborn children if adoption wasn’t the “solution” we’ve all made it out to be??

    Of this, I know. I placed my daughter for adoption at birth, only to wind up with her on my doorstep 15 years later after her adoptive parents neglected, abused and then abandoned her to a homeless shelter and foster care. And it was all done and hidden by her adoptive father, who was a seminary professor at a Baptist college.

  • What I find most troubling about this story are the undercurrents of racism, classism and mental health-ism (pretty sure I made that up).

    I think that if she was white and wealthy there would be little to no vitriol towards her, she would be a story, yes, but she would be on Ellen getting free diapers, not threatened with sterilization.

    She seems to be a troubled woman who needs mental health care. Yesterday. If she was physically disabled, the story would not be, oh my god, that woman has no legs, how selfish of her to have children. The story would be one of triumph.

    Instead it has turned into ‘crazy people shouldn’t have kids’ and wow, if that’s not the slipperiest slope of them all…

  • Fortunately for me, Heather, and probably most of you in this comment thread, your mom has to be more than a little bit crazy to get her children taken away form her.

    I think taking this woman’s children from her is a bad move because placing them in different homes (separated) is cruel, and giving birth to multiple multiples is no more a punishable crime than giving birth to 18+ children (you know where I’m going with that).

    Were her decisions unwise? Yes.

    Will her kids suffer from these decisions? Yes.

    Will they survive and grow into interesting adults with unique life experience? Most likely.

    What I’m saying is, her behavior isn’t abusive. It’s just weird and expensive to taxpayers. So, let the government fund this shining example of fertility treatment incompetence, and let California set some sort of regulation that says you can’t implant more than three embryos at a time, no matter how much invitro costs.

  • miltoncat

    My husband and I are planning to get pregnant this year. I’m 36 and I worry we have a hard road ahead. But we have already decided we won’t go to huge lengths to have a baby. IVF maybe, but not long, stretched out fertility treatments. I just got married last year and I never understood why some women went to such lengths to get pregnant. Now I do.

    We’re anguishing enough over it, as my husband has a decent job but does not make a lot of money. I lost my job last year. We are making it, barely, and I am scared how we will afford a baby. But we also have such a short window to get pregnant, and to think that we’d have to give up that goal because of a bad time in the economy… man. I can’t even wrap my mind around that.

    That said… Suleman was irresponsible and selfish.

  • I don’t know that I have a lot to add here that hasn’t already been summed up. Yes, she seems crazy. But I also agree with you that we get into dangerous ground when we start judging other people’s fertility choices. I am pro-choice; I don’t want anyone’s laws on my body- so really how mad can I get at her? Do I think she’s a crazy idiot with an irresponsible doctor? Sure. I don’t think that should be illegal. It is unfortunate for those kids.

    And to the commenter that asked how this is different from the family with 18+ on TLC- It is not just because they are married. The older kids in that family shoulder a large portion of the burden caring for the younger ones. Octomom has no children significantly old enough to help out with the younger ones, plus the added challenge of some with disabilities. That seems pretty different to me.

  • sybann

    Nadya S is a whackadoo and her doc should lose his license – and have to pay for the children’s upbringing.

    That being said, her choice. As long as we don’t have to pay for their upbringing.

  • Kirsten

    After all the hoopla broke over the realities of this situation, my honest reaction was “can we move on and consider these babies that are here now?” It doesn’t help any IN THIS SITUATION to continue to beat the dead horse of whether this mom should have done this or not. In part of the interview with Ann Curry that I saw, the mom made a comment that they were her embryos and she wanted them. This jumped out at me because isn’t that what some of the “pro-life” establishment has been saying about why embryonic stem cell reseach is bad? (Not saying I agree with that viewpoint.) Are any “pro-lifers” standing up defending her? I haven’t heard it myself.

  • Anonymous

    I will be paying attention to the people who pay her for her story and give her money and hold my own protest. I will not buy their products, etc. That is just wrong to support this kind of behavior.

  • I’m one of those people who became a mother as the result of fertility treatments. We went through four years of trying to have a baby without medical treatment and those were, without question, the darkest years of my life. A study by Alice Domar, Ph.D. found that women undergoing infertility treatment have stress and depression levels comparable to women with cancer, AIDS, and other life-threatening chronic diseases.

    It is a horrible thing to have to live with and to have to come to terms with. Although I did end up being one of the very lucky ones who was able to conceive and have a baby through these miracles of modern medicine, after four years of not being able to conceive, I had already come to terms with never becoming a mother and was already researching adoption.

    I defy anyone who would try to tell me that my daughter should not be here because of the length I had to take to have her. To have that kind of attitude is cruel and from my experience, it comes from women who need to have something “more” than someone else to feel better. It is the same women who brag about their children being better than other children, the same women who boast about their parenting – women who don’t understand what it really means to be a mother, whether your child came as a surprise, as a planned pregnancy, as the result of fertility treatment, or through adoption. What REAL mothers understand is that EVERY child is a miracle. And for those of us who have had to go the extra mile to have our children, it is something we never forget.

    This woman who has had all these children has her own issues. But she shouldn’t be treated any different from any other person in this country that has had numerous children and is “working the system”. Just because one doctor and patient abused the miracle of creation doesn’t mean no one else should be able to use it.

  • Laura

    If she already had 6 kids that she can not take care of, I wonder who paid for the IVF?

  • IV

    I agree with Heather, it’s not our business what this woman does with her body. I do not believe she’s crazy…perhaps she got a little carried away with her IVF treatments. Anyway what I really wanted to say here is that soon, the taxpayers won’t have to worry about her being a drain on the “system”…this woman is going to make a TON of money selling her story…if she’s smart (or surrounds herself with smart people”) she will invest the money, hire some help, and live a crazy, hectic, child-filled life and soon be forgotten by you and me and the media.

  • Anonymous

    This has been a hot topic over here:

  • Laura

    There are several disturbing parts to this story, but I always did and still do lay all blame on the doctor.

    When the story first broke, I assumed it was IUI, where basically the doctor injects super sperm into the woman, whose ovaries have already been stimulated to produce more eggs. There is supposed to be lots of monitoring for an IUI so that you don’t have an embryo party in the uterus. Occasionally, the cycle is called off because it is clear that the woman will release lots of eggs, and that’s dangerous. Either way, this is what happened to Jon + Kate. They did NOT do IVF.

    IVF is a much more controlled procedure than IUI, but it costs close to $12,000 per cycle, whereas IUI costs only a few hundred dollars. The doctor does many tests on the couple and decides what will work best for their particular situation. Factors like PCOS, genetic issues, age, prior pregnancies and sperm count will affect how many embryos the doctor transfers. (TRANSFERS, not IMPLANTS – infertiles get worked up about this because it’s up to the body to implant the embryo(s)!) For me, our problem is that my husband has a genetic defect that makes his sperm count ridiculously low and puts us at risk for Trisomy 13 and 14. We’re 25 and 26, so at first the doctor said that with my fresh eggs, she’d only put in 1embryo. But when we found out more details about our odds of fertilizing normal embryos, we’ve now decided to put in 2 embryos in order to maximize our chances. But because of my age, any more than that would be ridiculous.

    The octo-mom had tube problems, so she could not naturally produce eggs and get pregnant. IVF was her only option. However, it was clear that IVF was a successful treatment for her, as she had previously gotten pregnant 5 times with IVF. There is NO reason why the doctor had to put in SIX embryos – she was clearly able to conceive and carry a baby.

    Moreover, while I don’t think doctors should necessarily refuse treatment based on the number of children she already had, someone should have raised an eyebrow when they discovered she was a single mom to 6 children. The doctor was clearly on a power trip and cared more about how his clinic’s statistics improved when he could add so many success stories.

    She clearly has mental problems, and I do not blame her at all. The sperm donor, her parents, her friends, the doctor, the nurses at the clinic – all of these people could have and should have stepped in and done everything in their power to stop her. Unfortunately, what we have here is a woman with a serious mental illness who managed to find the craziest IVF doctor in the country, and the results were disasterous.

    What I really want America to realize is that IVF does not result in octuplets unless the doctor is absolutely careless. IVF is so carefully controlled that triplets are even not ALL that common. It’s just ridiculous that this even happened at all.

  • coleen

    when i first heard about this octuplet birth, i’ll admit i was happy for the mother, but also a bit wary as it is hard to care for 1 child, let alone 8 premature babies.

    then the stuff starting coming out. weird doctor, more childern at home, lives with parents. interesting things for all. & of course america groped for this story & was angry she didn’t give interviews & wouldn’t speak so we can crucify her on public televison. what a woman to defy the demands of the american population! see her strength!

    i am amazed by this woman, how she can have so many children yet, doesn’t have the means to financially care for them. my husband & i had trouble conceiving. we didn’t have to go as far as invitro, but any infertility is difficult. we took clomid & that also has an increased chance of multiples. we had to sit down & discuss if we could handle more than 1 baby, emotionally & financially. we decided that we probably could (who knows until they get there, right?), it is a definite risk & should not be taken lightly.

    its disconcerning to me that she had the invitro, knowing that she had a MUCH higher chance of getting multiples, knowing she didn’t have a job, knowing she had 6 other children at home, also knowing that if she were to have multiples that they would probably arrive early as so many of them do! what was her game plan? what was her stopping point? what was her voice of reason?

    again, she is amazing! i cannot understand what IS going through her head & what she was thinking at the time. she is blessed her children are doing well & they will probably be released soon. what if they would have had to have more? more surgeries, more tubes, more doctors…those cost money too. tax payer money…

  • IV

    Oh- and am I the only one who gets physically sick to my stomach at the moniker “octomom”, I mean really…we have literally made her into a monster. Shame on us.

  • Years ago, my doctor told me I had PCOS and could not conceive children naturally. I grieved and felt that loss tremendously, though I read many stories about women who, after many tries, were able to conceive by other means. Almost a year ago, I was told by another doctor that I DIDN’T have PCOS and that my ovaries were perfectly normal. I cannot explain the relief I felt and still feel at the news. I can’t imagine being told I couldn’t have children TWICE instead of ONCE simply because some people abuse their rights.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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