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Octomom’s Doctor Loses License, Another Set of Sextuplets is Born

By HERWriter Guide
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The doctor who implanted all those embryos in Nadya Suleman recently lost his license (beginning July 1, 2011) to practice medicine in California (he can apply for a license in other states). Many people applauded this decision, believing he acted irresponsibly and recklessly.

Yet just last week, another Pennsylvanian couple (like the famous Gosselin family from the same state) gave birth to six babies – all of whom are on ventilators and IVs and are considered to be in critical condition regarding their survival. But so far, all are alive and growing. Hopefully, they will remain that way. They were born at 27 weeks and they have a 16 month old big sister.

Critics have been abundant. Sixty staff members to deliver the babies? Why were so many embryos implanted? Did these parents do it on purpose to be famous? Why are press conferences held by the parents? While supporters call it a miracle, others remind them it was merely science run amok.

Regardless, these babies are deeply loved. Sextuplets in America are rare (there is thought to be about one set every year). All are born via IVF treatments that include a large number of embryos implanted. Due to this rarity, a surprising number have or previously had reality shows, drawing even more criticism regarding the babies’ rights to privacy and profiteering from the circumstances surrounding their births.

The parents in this new case knew the risks, they said, but were hopeful (and very surprised) upon learning that so many embryos were brought to life. They will remain in the hospital for an undetermined length of time (until they are strong enough to go home), but not soon enough for the proud and thrilled parents!

Tell us:
Do you think there should be a legal limit to how many embryos can be implanted in a woman? Why or why not?

Edited by Kate Kunkel

Add a Comment9 Comments


Hi Eveyone,
It's very important for the decision of how many embryos transfered remains between the doctor and their patients. There are guidelines to refer to, set by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (www.asrm.org), but they are only guidelines because they recognize each patient is a unique individual and not everyone fits within a cookie cutter. For example, for women of older ages the guidelines are to transfer more embryos, but not every patient wants that many transfered. And the guideline for a younger patient is one or two, but that is not helpful for the patient with a high percentage of genetically abnormal embryos. Many factors go into how many embryos are transfered which is why the number should not be mandated.

The outcome of the Octomom is very unfortunate. It is safe to say, it is not the norm. My point is, this is not something you would find in a state that provides health benefits for infertility treatment.

Fertility Within Reach

June 29, 2011 - 7:08am
EmpowHER Guest

i think that there should a limit that way the baby will be born out of love not to get in a recard books

June 18, 2011 - 10:42am
EmpowHER Guest

"Tell us:
Do you think there should be a legal limit to how many embryos can be implanted in a woman? Why or why not?"

In reply to the above comment, I quote the article's question. That is the topic presented and the above comments were in response to that. No where in the article does it state that the parents of this particular set of sextuplets used fertility drugs to stimulate the mother's ovaries. But the article assures us the parents knew the risks and carried through the pregnancy, hoping for the best.

In light of privacy laws, we have no way of knowing exactly what method was used to produce these sextuplets. For all anyone knows, the mother could be speaking truthfully or she could be lying. All anyone can do is look at the circumstances surrounding her. Quite frankly, the circumstances aren't very attractive.

Fertility treatment is expensive and not covered by insurance. It's rarely successful each time it's used. Now, do the math: This couple had an 8 month old baby at the time the sextuplets were conceived. Think about that. Their precious baby was barely weaned to solid food, not even out of diapers...Why on earth was this couple racing to a fertility specialist so quickly, seeking baby-to-back pregnancies? What was the rush for? How much of the first baby's needs were not met, or postponed, to pay for the next fertility treatments? After all, there is only so much money to go around. For the rest of that child's life, she will have to take a back seat because she now has to defer to her 6 little siblings. Those 6 siblings will have all sorts of needs that will be far more compelling than hers needs. I feel sorry for the "big" sister, who is likely not even potty trained yet. Poor little girl.

And yes, Mom and Dad knew the risks. Why not abort some of the embryos, in order to give the remaining a better life? Because of some twisted pro-life belief, of course. Quality of life for each child is the true sign of a parent's love, not the quantity of the children!

This couple was not desperate to have a baby. They already had a baby. They're just hoarding.

June 11, 2011 - 7:18am
EmpowHER Guest

IVF was not used in this case. She states she took fertility medications. The risk of multiple pregancy is actually much lower in IVF because you control how many embryos reach the uterus. The octomom case was an example of failing to follow the guidelines outlining the number of embryos to be transferred. She should have recieved 1 or 2. He transferred 12.

June 10, 2011 - 1:57pm

I truly believe the decision on how many embryos are transfered during an IVF cycle should be based on the medical need of the patient, as determined by the expert doctor.

Today, we are discussing sextuplets born in California and Pennsylvania. Both states lack a mandate for insurance companies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Multiple studies have shown the cost on insurance premiums are lower in states with a mandate to cover infertility treatment. One reason is because there are less higher order multiples (triplets or more). Why? Patients, desperate to build their families are able to make important decisions (like how many embryos to transfer) based on medical need rather than financial concern. The patients choose to transfer fewer embryos.

Medical care needs to remain personalized. The way to reduce higher order multiples is not to standardize medicine, but to provide medical coverage for the diagnosis and treatment for this disease.

To learn more about the studies I mentioned above, please visit http://www.fertilityhealthadvocatesne.org/Supportive-Information.html

All my best,
Fertility Within Reach

June 9, 2011 - 8:09am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Davina Fankhauser)

What disease do you refer to? Infertility? Infertility is, in itself, not a disease. Rather, infertility is an outcome of various diseases. Health Insurance already pays for the treatment of a very wide range of diseases that cause infertility. For example, I had endometriosis. The treatment for this disease was surgery. Insurance covered the treatment just fine. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and many other diseases are treated and Insurance pays for them too.
A "disease" is a term that basically means, "something is wrong" and it should be treated. Infertility, imo, is not a "disease" that should be "treated" by artificially impregnating people. Insurance companies share the same opinion. They already pay to treat the causes of infertility. They just don't pay to have people artificially impregnated. Your post suggests that infertility is a disease. A woman who is infertile is not always diseased. In fact, I would hesitate to even suggest that fertile women are the only healthy ones. Many healthy women are infertile and in no need of treatment.
Another assumption that your post suggests is that women who use IVF are always infertile. Many women use IVF who are NOT infertile. Are insurance companies supposed to pay for their babies too? Answer: No.
I'm very aware of the studies that indicate people are less likely to be reckless when insurance companies pay for their IVF treatments. I do believe that US Healthcare reform will help address this issue in due time. However, I'm uncomfortable with putting businesses in the position of teaching ethical behavior, although many of them do. I think it's better to let members of society teach each other.
In other words, it's good for people to hear disapproval from their fellow human beings, even though it hurts feelings. That's how we learn from each other.
Being reckless with human life is wrong. Period. There's no excuse for it. This is not a "miracle". It's reckless endangerment. If a parent didn't use a baby seat when transporting an infant, would we feel grateful fo the miracle of life if the child were struggling to survive after a car accident? Would we feel good watching that child breathe with the aid of a ventilator? Would we chuckle and offer support if the parents expressed "surprise"?. Let the parents of these sextuplets, who are fighting for their lives learn that what they did is wrong. This will help teach other IVF parents and their physicians ethics. In time, this will hopefully lead to legislation. People who hurt children through reckless IVF treatment should be held accountable.

June 9, 2011 - 1:57pm
Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,
Your response is very passionate and I appreciate that you care so deeply. However, I must clarify, I was not suggesting anything. I was stating as a FACT that infertility IS a disease. It is a disease of the reproductive organs and the U. S. Supreme Court held in 1998 that infertility is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

I am concerned that you say you are aware of studies proving cost savings of infertility treatment, yet you are not clear on what infertility is. At this time infertility treatment is not apart of the Essential Benefits package offered by Healthcare Reform. We encourage everyone to contact their legislators and ask it be included.

I would like to offer you an excellent resource to help bring you up to speed, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, www.asrm.org. You may find it extremely helpful so you could include factual information within your strong responses.

I am glad your condition is better. I am shocked, but glad, to hear you "had" endometriosis. I hope it never returns.

I hope this information was helpful to your understanding.

Fertility Within Reach

June 25, 2011 - 6:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

I agree with the previous post. Thanks to the Suleman debacle, the American public and the rest of the world learned that the guidelines of no more than 2-3 embryos are there for a reason. These guidelines are there to keep mothers and children safe from unnecessary risks. Now that everyone knows that this particular mother had implanted in her at least 3 times the medical guidelines, the element of "surprise" and "miracle" is greatly diminished. In Britain, a study was done that solidly proves having excess embryos implanted doesn't achieve fertility success. So, why did she and her doctor decide on excess embryos? Why shouldn't this be viewed as a form of child abuse?
Besides, has anyone ever really looked at a premature infant hooked up to machines while the tiny organs finish developing enough to leave the hospital? This can't be a comfortable experience. Make no mistake, those helpless little mites are in pain and suffering...and all because a reckless doctor and mother took unnecessary risks. How can this be thrilling to anyone? I don't feel delighted when I see children suffer needlessly, for the sake of someone's greed.

June 8, 2011 - 6:44pm
EmpowHER Guest

There should be a legal limit, in my opinion. A. These babies can suffer a lot of physical issues, stuff you may or may not see or detect or diagnose until well after they're born. Multiply these issues by six or more babies and... Well, you get where I'm going here. It's not fair to them.

B. The mother suffers from taking whatever drugs are necessary to birth so many babies-- if you haven't noticed, mothers seem to age at least ten years after such procedures. Octo's only thirty-four and she looks like she's gracing fifty. And based on how she expresses herself on national television, I imagine she's experiencing mental and physical anguish as well, making for even more medications (anti-depressants and so much more) to ease her pain. But, alas, she brought all of this upon herself.

C. How many of these parents electing to have multiple embryos injected into them are financially and emotionally responsible individuals? If not many, and I bet there are very very few of them out there, then how many babies should American taxpayers be financially and emotionally responsible for? Is this fair to the rest of us?

The reason Toxo's doctor lost his license, aside from a lack of responsibility, is that he participated in a scheme to swindle tons of dollars from unsuspecting Americans. But they're onto it now. You'd be surprised by how many people are involved in this scam, not limited to Octo, Docto, Octo's "baby-boyfriend" and other friends, and even that whiny landlord. I think it's a good thing for humankind that he lost his license.

June 8, 2011 - 7:50am
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