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article imageOctuplets Mom 'Fixated' on Babies

By Joan Firstenberg     Feb 10, 2009 in Health
The octuplets case continues to unfold, but as to just how the 14 children will be fed and taken care of is still not clear. Mother Nadya Suleman says she's sure "God" will provide.
More news about the California octuplets' mother continues to trickle out. The Los Angeles Times reports that Nadya Suleman, the woman who gave birth to octuplets last month, is receiving $490 a month in food stamps, and three of her first six children are disabled and receiving federal assistance. The 33-year old Suleman had told NBC News correspondent Ann Curry in an interview that she was not getting welfare. But her publicist says Suleman doesn't consider the food stamps and SSI to be welfare.
Suleman bristles under attacks that she will not be able to support her 14 children.
"I will feed them. I will do the best I possibly can. In my own way, in my own faith, I do believe wholeheartedly that God will provide in his own way."
Suleman says things will improve when she gets her Master's degree in Counseling. The question is whether with 14 children she will be able to get out of the house to go to school, let alone have enough time to do the classwork.
It is also known now that Suleman was implanted with the embryos for all her children at at a Beverly Hills clinic, the West Coast IVF Clinic, headed by Dr. Michael M. Kamrava. On his website, he describes himself as "an internationally recognized leader in the field of in vitro fertilisation" who has helped pioneer "breakthrough technology that revolutionized IVF, reducing risks to both the mother and child." The website notes that his procedures have also helped to reduce costs.
Statistics gathered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, reveal that his clinics performed 20 in vitro procedures in 2006 on women under 35. Of those, four resulted in pregnancies and only two of those resulted in births. One of those women delivered twins. The statistics show that his pregnancy rate and live birth rate are far below the national average.
Without identifying the doctor, the Medical Board of California said last week it was looking into the Suleman case to see if there was a "violation of the standard of care." The medical board said Monday it has not taken any disciplinary action against Kamrava in the past.
Some fertility specialists say the 57-year old Dr. Kamrava is a controversial figure in the field. Dr. John Jain, the founder of Santa Monica Fertility Specialists says,
"He's tried some novel techniques and some of those methods have been controversial."
And Jain criticized Kamrava's decision to implant so many embryos...
"I do think that this doctor really stepped outside the guidelines in a very extreme manner, and as such, put both the mother and children at extra high risk of disability and even death."
An in-vitro procedure usually costs between $8,000 and $15,000. Asked on NBC how she was able to afford the treatments, Suleman said she had saved money and used some of the more than $165,000 in disability payments she received after being injured in a 1999 riot at a state mental hospital where she worked.
Dr. Richard Paulson, head of the fertility program at the University of Southern California, says we should not rush to judgment about the fertility treatment offered in this case, because questions remain about the quality of Suleman's eggs and whether there were any extraordinary circumstances that would have led Dr. Kamrava to transfer so many embryos.
Suleman, told NBC's "Today" show she was "fixated" on having children and that her doctor "did nothing wrong" and had warned her of possible complications to the pregnancy and risks to the development of the babies.
The octuplets were born nine weeks prematurely on January 26, but appear relatively healthy. Their names have a Biblical theme: Noah, Jonah, Jeremiah, Josiah, Isaiah, Maliyah, Makai and Nariyah. All share the middle name Angel and the last name Solomon.
Nadya's mother is not pleased with all these babies. In an interview with celebrity news Web site, Angela Suleman said she and Nadya's father could not understand all this....
"I'm really angry... She already has six beautiful children. Why would she do this? I'm struggling to look after her six. We had to put in bunk beds, feed them in shifts and there's children's clothing piled all over the house."
Angela Suleman says Nadya's boyfriend is the biological father of all 14 children, but she has refused to marry him.
"He was in love with her and wanted to marry her. But Nadya wanted to have children on her own."
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