Friday, February 06, 2009

I'm angry and upset - Octuplets

I don't normally get into "political" or controversial (especially the most taboo subject selective reduction in multiple birth pregnancies) , but I have to tell you I'm really, really angry about the news of Octuplets being born, especially with the circumstances surrounding their mother.

I was upset when I first heard about the Octuplets being born. I guess I'll let it out there. I know all the religious followers I have I will upset, but I think it's horribly wrong to let a mother carry that many fetuses. Wrong. It's not god's will, it's science that is getting women pregnant in the first place. She's doesn't even have a job!

The cost to society for the care for 8 babies. Who knows what type of conditions they will be in long-term.

And when I found out she already has 6 children, is unemployed and was quoted as saying she was lonely and wanted more children.


She received $165,000 for medical disability as she hurt her back working in a mental hospital (in a riot).

She's unemployed - how in the world is she going to PAY to take care of and feed 14 children. She doesn't have an income? How long can $165K last after multiple in-vitros(at $20K a pop). How much is our society going to pay for all of those kids. Will my hard-earned Federal and California tax dollars be paying to help her and her desires to be a mom to 14 (even if she ONLY wanted 7, that's still ridiculous!)

Here she is quoted as saying: “I know I'll be able to afford them when I'm done with my schooling,” the 33-year-old single mom replied. Calm, poised and articulate in the glare of the media spotlight, Suleman added: “If I was just sitting down watching TV and not being as determined as I am to succeed and provide a better future for my children, I believe that would be considered, to a certain degree, selfish.”

What world do you live in? Yes, it's considered selfish. My husband is a full-time fireman (with amazing health insurance benefits for our family), my income is come and go, and we are STRUGGLING to afford our 2 children, let alone start saving for their college education.

She also said: "Curry reported that although Suleman has received disability payments from the state of California, she said she refuses to accept welfare payments. Suleman and her children live with her mother, Angela Suleman."

her mother said she wanted one more girl (well WHY in the world would you implant 6 embryos?) Here are the IVF recommendations:

No more than one or two embryos implanted for a generally healthy woman under 35 "in the absence of extraordinary circumstances." For women over 40, no more than three to five, depending on the embryos' maturity.

Here are some news links:

FAQ: How ended up having 8 children

I liked this honest reporting: news story:

quote: "In a separate segment, NBC’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, said the gamble didn’t end with the live births of all eight babies.

“That risk is not only to mom — her uterus can rupture and she can die — there’s a phenomenal risk to eight babies. Eight babies, by definition, cannot be born normal weight and robust,” Snyderman told TODAY’s Matt Lauer after watching Suleman’s interview with Curry.She explained: “They’re going to watch these kids very carefully for eating problems, growing [problems], and then seizures, jaundice, heart problems, lung problems, blindness, developmental delays — there’s a laundry list of things. Long term, because some of these children will be physically or mentally challenged, there’s a looming price tag out here. The hospital bill alone will run $1.5 to $3 million. Forget about getting to college; just to get through special-needs stuff — it’s going to have to come from somewhere, either the taxpayers of California or her family or her church or the hospital. But she can’t do it alone.”"

Each preemie can cost $1M in hospital bills. She doesn't have insurance. She should have considered this when she decided to keep all 6 fetuses. This makes me so, very, very angry. (right to life folks, sorry) this just isn't right.

Hospital bills aside, what are these children going to cost society ongoing? I know what my daughter is likely costing (special schools, Early Intervention, Therapies and of course her medical (luckily covered by our insurance).

The story continued on saying:

"NBC contributor and psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz added that there will be emotional issues to deal with as well. “Undoubtedly these eight children are going to have issues: at the minimum, the issue of neglect,” Saltz told Lauer.“Obviously, she’s saying she’s going to love them, but there are 14 children and [only] one of her,” Saltz continued. “There’s going to be an absence of some emotional needs. There will probably be developmental delays at best in these children; maybe learning disabilities. There are going to be major issues that they’re going to need various therapies for.”"

and the mom said as to why she wanted so many children:

"“That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family, and I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that I really lacked, I believe, growing up,” she replied. "

So this gives you the right to have 7 (6 + the one more "girl" she wanted) Now she has 14 ??

More from the news story:

"Saltz later opined to Lauer that Suleman’s statement reveals emotional issues. “I think she’s in a bit of denial here and quite defensive, because in fact she does talk about the fact that this has been her life’s mission: to have babies, have babies, have babies. There’s an obsession to this, and I think it’s quite disturbing,” the psychiatrist said.
“When you don’t have a connection in childhood, you go see a therapist,” she added. “You don’t have 14 babies.”"

More news stories on subject:

Grandma says mom is obsessed with babies
Medical board probes birth
Celebration to boos in media
Mom gets media /book offers
How are the babies doing?

Feel free to comment, BUT please leave your religious comments out. I really don't want to start a right-to-life debate here.

update: 2/13:

Here's a new story:

Grandma is speaking out!


Maria said...


I only wish I was as articulate as you. You said exactly what I feel. It physically makes me ill to think of how SELFISH this lady is. Poor kidlets and poor Californians who are footing the bill for this nonsense. Every time I see healthy and miracle in relation to these kids I cringe. What exactly is healthy about a 1.5lb 30 weeker again? What about the things these kids are enduring??? I feel frazzled keeping one SN kid going, but potentially 9 (8 plus the severely autistic child she already has)

Anyway thanks for voicing honestly what many think!


Shannon and Carey said...

Guess who's gonna pay for all of this? YOU and Me! Get your wallets out. Oh wait, we already DO!
Don't get me started!!!!
-Shannon in Bleeding Heart Liberal Austin

Justine said...

It really irritated me too! I know that it's a very natural thing for women to want to be mother's and nobody should be denied that right....BUT, she was so NOT prepared to bring even 1 more child let alone 8 into the world. It was obviously a planned pregnancy, why would she plan having more kids, when she didn't have a solid income? She' relying soley on her parents and MY tax money!! Give me a break. And don't get me started on how risky it is to those kids to be brought into this world so early!

Anonymous said...

I'm religious and a right to lifer, but that doesn't mean I disagree with you on this issue. What this woman did was horrible, and her children will suffer for it long term. It makes me really angry too. It has nothing to do with selective reduction -- she made a bad moral choice implanting six embryos at a time -- that's just wrong. And actually, she made a bad choice going in for IVF in the first place when she already had more children than any person could be expected to handle. But implanting six embryos! I think the state should take away her children, because they just can't safely be raised under those conditions.

Anonymous said...

There is a reason that in daycares they only allow a ratio of 4:1 children to teachers (at least in TX). It is sick and the state of CA should go after the the doctor that did this!

Anonymous said...

You're spot-on Liz!
Pure insanity.

Anonymous said...

I think she suffers from a psychiatric disorder. she appears to be delusional. The person who should pay to raise these kids is her rich infertility specialist who lacks professionalism. He should be punished. He took oath to do no harm and his actions could have caused this woman's death and left her 6 children orphans (not that they would have noticed!) I think she did this because she did not want to destroy the embryos and she did not want to pay for their storage. may be she wanted publicity. I am other of a single premie, with a husband and parents who help and can barely mange him given his medical issues. How is she going to raise these kids. Of course we will pau for it. I bet she has medical.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why she leaves her most precious posession, her other 6 kids, with her mom while she goes on her baby adventure when she says she lacked connection at home as a child? That poor grandmother, her daughter needs some counselling and she needs a break from the free babysitting role.
Well articulated Liz, including disclaimers and your position in terms of right to 'life' outside of being fetuses.

Emily said...

The situation upsets me as well. I don't think it's any doctor's right to tell a mother what she can and cannot do with babies she's carrying. To say that you think it was wrong that the doctors "let a mother carry that many fetuses" sounds really scary to me. It was negligent of the doctor to agree to transfer 6 embryos in the first place but beyond that all the doctor can do is give advice and has no control over whether the mom chooses to carry all eight babies. She has a right as a human being to make decisions for herself but it's hard for me to comprehend someone not thinking about the consequences of such a horrible horrible choice.

Ultimately it's a sad situation for her family. I feel really bad for not only her children but her parents. I've read that her dad is having to take a contracting job in Iraq to support his grandchildren. Even if she is some big right to life person, there are things that can be done to not destroy the embryos.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the doctor involved inplanted all those embryos as some kind of "experiment" and also to afterwards take the credit of being first docter to be involved with eight surviving? I cannot start to imagine how one looks after so many children and with some of them having special needs ... phew. In our country (SA)the poor qualify for a monthly grant of roughly $18 (R183) per child, and believe it or not, some people have more and more children to get hold of that money. Could she possibly have done it for fianancial gain?


ThePreemie Experiment said...

It wrong on so many levels.

And lets not forget that one of her older children has autism. The chaos that will exist in that house once all of the children are living under one roof will not be a positive environment for a typical child, let alone one with autism.

The last I heard, her reproductive specialist is under investigation.

Anonymous said...

Liz, I agree with every word you said. Very good post. I hope the shit hits the fan for that doctor.

Stephanie said...

Yes I don't know what she was thinking. But then I look at people like Jon and Kate with their sextuplets. They don't seem like bad people at all. I think they implanted 7 embryos because I know in one episode they said they were in shock because at one point all seven took. But then one was absorbed. I don't think they thought in a million years they all the embryos were going to take. Maybe they are the exception and not the rule. They are very lucky that the children are all doing so well. But this woman being single and etc... it is just wrong. I really have to pray for those children and her as well.

Anna said...

Her fertility doctors should be seriously under scrutiny. My impression is that they took advantage of a deranged person for publicity and personal gain. Enough said.

Kristin said...

Right on, Liz, right on. This whole situation stinks. Irresponsible on the doctor's part to implant 8 embryos, selfish on her part not to undergo selective reduction. Yes, woman's choice, right to life, blah blah blah, whatever. Let's see...choice between 8 dead/mentally retarded/disabled children or a guilty conscience for aborting a few...maybe I'm in the minority, but I'd take the burden of a lifetime of guilt over children with a lifetime of misery ahead of them. Now, I'm not knocking you ladies and your far as I see most of your pregnancies were twins, triplets at real reason to expect extreme prematurity there. You were dealt a shitty hand and made of it what you could. But 8? OK, she thought it was 7, but still. 7! How can you NOT expect your babies to suffer from that? It's asking for trouble. God, I hope she doesn't get a show or anything. Jon and Kate are bad enough. (Don't get me started on them, I don't think they're as great as people make them out to be...but hell, they have 8 beautiful, healthy children, might as well make them the poster children for high order multiples, right?) Too bad the McCaughey (sp?) septuplets were born so many years THAT would have made for much more interesting "reality" TV...2 kids with CP, at least one that underwent eye surgery (though I think 2), 2 with feeding problems resulting in g-tubes until they were 3 or 4...much more realistic picture of what these octuplets have to look forward to. Yes, they are all beautiful, wonderful children, and I'm sure if their parents had it to do over, they wouldn't change a thing, but people could learn more from them than from 8 perfectly healthy little multiples.

Anonymous said...

Most districts in California have pet limit laws which only allow either three cats or dogs per residence unless you have a special license. Now I know children are different, but if this single woman takes her eight babies home to her parents house she will have fourteen all under the age of seven in a three bedroom house. I hope California child protection services are watching closly for signs of abuse and neglect. The mother is already getting fancy manicures and giving interviews. Who is looking after the babies at the hospital and the ones at home?

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...

I have to be very, very honest here Liz, while I agree with the majority of the points you raise I really have a problem with you denigrating her status as a single mother.

As you know from our group I am a single mother by choice, am not married and used a sperm donor. I am quite capable of caring for my micropreemie without a husband. Given the rate of divorce in familes who have children with special needs and the number of times I have heard married moms of micropeemies complain about the lack of participation by their husbands in raising their medically fragile children, it would appear that having a husband or partner may not really add much to the equation.

Michele said...

I posted on this topic before it even became a topic. I was angry at the fact that any doctor would allow that many eggs to be put into any woman. Its in my blog. It is such a sore subject with me. I cringe everytime I hear about this story. I had one person tell me to mind my own business only to come back when the new broke that she wanted money for interviews and stuff, and appologise to me. The only reason why she did what she did, was to get fortune and having so many at one time. There is something not stable with this person and I feel that she should be seeking mental help...especially if she did this to not feel lonely. GRRRR!

Anonymous said...

Jon and Kate didn't do IVF they did IUI. Just sayin'!

SpeasHill said...

I know you said to leave religious comments out - so feel free to remove this one if you'd like - but I'd just like to say that I am an ordained minister, and I'm definitely on the same page as you are!

liz.mccarthy said...

When I asked for no religious comments, I mainly meant that I didn't want this to be a right-to-life vs right-to-choice discussion.

And, I just made a few changes to my original post, although this mom is a single mom, I don't have any problem with single moms having children or even multiple children. My main issues is being able to care and afford those children as well as being mentally stable enough to want to have the children as opposed to filling an open space in the moms life.

Anonymous said...

She better get some money for her interviews, and book deals and stuff...otherwise, we, the taxpayers will be supporting her all the way. This is the only way she will be able to support these poor children since I doubt people or organizations will be coming forward providing free diapers, houses, cars! So, I say, grant those interviews and book deals and whatever else!

Brandi said...

I agree whole heartedly. While I don't believe in reduction, the mom should have said nope don't implant that many. Her mom was quoted as saying that the octo-mom was "obsessed" with children. Now that doesn't sound very rational. The doctors are at fault for implanting and not screening more carefully her psychiological state. She has been quoted as saying she was wanting a tv show as a "parenting expert". Nope don't want her advice. And she is receiving welfare. They were talking about it on the news a few nights ago.

Anonymous said...


Very well written.We are really looking froward to hear about Kaitlyn's alternative therapy.Everytime you post we feel like to hear something about therapy with lot of hope.Hopefully you will post that soon for us.

Moms of Adriana and Avery

Anonymous said...

Why don't you donate your breast milk to her. Like her decision or not, her kids still need milk. Just an idea.

Anonymous said...

Ok as a mom to two IVF produced, 28weeker twins, this is SOOOO wrong! Our insurance didn't pay for a dime of our IVF so we have paid out of pocket $20k of our hard working & earned money! Our insurance fortunately did cover our NICU expenses which totaled $300k+ for each of my boys (who by the way are 100% healthy & otherwise sailed thru the NICU - count my blessing = absolutley)... 50% of my frustration goes to the doctor, to which I ask: WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD ANY DOCTOR TRANSFER MORE THAN 3 EMBRYOS???? Even with multiple failed cycles & for women >35 yr, our fertility clinic (as a rule) transfered, at most 3 embryos & are actually pushing for the transfer of 1 in women <35 yr. My other 50% of discontent rests with this incredibly irresponsible women! I am amazed that someone could be so irresponsible to bring 6 kids of which she already cannot support, into the world, & then to want to bring even 1 more in??? At what point does DHS get involved??? Obviously, the living conditions these children are already subjected to (let alone the preemies) is deplorable at best! I am mad, mad, mad, mad & cannot even begin to articulate as well as you did - thank you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I forgot to mention - shame on any media or corporations, that gives this women any money or charitable handouts! This was purposeful, neglegant, malicous, selfish, irresponsible, do you need to say more... And rewarding this behavior with money, homes, cars, etc is ridiculous. Anyone that hires an 'agent', while your childrens lives hang in limbo, is wrong, wrong, wrong!

Caitlyn said...

Liz, I couldn't have said it better myself. The lady is crazy!

Kristin said...

The more I read, the angrier I get at this woman. Turns out she is receiving social security disability payments for 3 of her children...the autistic one plus 2 others for whom she declined to state the reason. She has 3 special needs children already and had the gall to give birth to 8 more potential special needs children? How on earth does she expect to give each child the attention they need?

Anonymous said...

I think you all need to watch the news specail that was on Tuesday night. It explains a lot. I don't think it is anyones right to judge her for what she has done. She is a grown woman and has made her own decisions and now she has to live with those. I am not saying that I would do the same, but I am saying she has that right. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Anonymous said...

Yeah well, seeing as our tax dollars are already feeding her 6 older children, and paying disability payments for 3 of them, yeah I'd say we damn well do have a right to be pissed off about this freak show. Pissed at her, pissed at the irresponsible doctor that implanted 6 embryos, pissed off that our hard earned tax dollars are being spent on 8 more potential special needs children that didn't have to be special needs children. Their hospital stay alone will be over a million dollars and that's a best-case scenario, assuming that they all make it out of the NICU with no long-term effects of their prematurity. She doesn't have over a million dollars to pay for it, so who pays? We do. So we have a right to complain.

Anonymous said...

Ok now the babies are here. Don't you think we should all think about the health and well being of these babies. I realize she has a lot on her plate to take care of 14children, butI don't think that she should be put down. I think that she deserves all the help she can get. What makes her different from any one else who has had multiples? She had lots of embryos emplanted with her other children and only had 1 and then a set of twins. Who would have ever thought she would have had eight.

Anonymous said...

The health and well being of the babies is why I'm pissed. It isn't healthy for or normal for a baby to share the womb with 7 others. Of course the babies will be cared for. This is America. They'll get food stamps, WIC, disability payments...regardless of what idiots the mother and her doctors are. Just because people are disgusted at the actions of this woman and her doctors doesn't mean they hold ill will towards the babies.

And who'd have thought she'd have 8 babies from having multiple embryos implanted? Um, anyone with half a brain could have figured there was a chance of that. There is a reason why most doctors will only implant 2-3 embryos at a time.

The Microblogologist said...

My stance is that this shouldn't be a right to life issue as the doctor never should have transferred all of those embryos.

Anna said...

Want to read a different point of view? Please check out:
No, I am not even remotely an author, just a working mom, I just like what they write.

Anonymous said...

I've followed your blog for a few years now and I feel compelled to speak up. I think you need to be careful in judging this woman, regardless of the "facts" we have. Any woman that choses to use modern medicine to increase her chances of pregnancy (especially something as dramatic as IVF) may be putting both herself and her child/ren at risk. While I don't argue that the mental stability of this mother is questionable and she clearly needs a good therapist (don't many of us?) she has taken the same route (albiet more dramatic) that many followers of this blog have taken. Her body did not want to be pregnant, so she took measures to make it become pregnant and the result is that these poor children face exceptional hardships.

But the arguement could be made that MANY babies brought into the world using IVF and other interventions result in a significant cost to society and tax on our welfare system, but because their journey into the world is more socially acceptable, or they have two parents who are desparate for a baby, we're not about to judge them. Did many of the followers of this blog know that they were signing up for hardships when they took measures to create a baby where none would have developed otherwise? Perhaps, and perhaps they thought it wouldn't happen to them? This mother didn't expect 8 babies either.

I certainly don't agree with the Dr's decision to implant those embryos given her circumstances, and clearly carrying all 8 babies is a huge risk, but even a single implanted embryo can result in a pre-term baby, and many challenges, which you yourself have experienced Liz. Be careful of pointing the finger because her social situation is different. There is no "right to bear children", just as there is sadly no right to be born to healthy, mature, employed parents. A woman who is desparate to have a child, for better or for worse, isn't always a rational creature. Sadly, the children she brought into the world will now pay the cost of her irresposibility. Perhaps they weren't even supposed to be here. It is their plight that breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

Are you freaking kidding me? I am a user of IVF - I am user of IVF as a result of a nearly fatal tubal pregancy, naturally conceived. My husband & I very clearly understood the risks of undergoing IVF. Anyone that undergoes IVF, with competant & credible fertility clinic, are counseled on the risks associated with fertility treatments. You obviously do not understand IVF - it is extreme for more than 3 embryos to be implanted. That scenario (3) would be typically be for women >35 &/or with multiple failed cycles. High order multiples are much more commonly a result of fertility drugs (Jon & Kate, McCoy septuplets) that result in multiple eggs being ovulated & fertilized in utero. This women already has 6 children of which she cannot support... What is infertile about already having 6 children? Try using the money from her 'settlement' to provide a better life for the existing children you have brought into the world!! This women is not the poster child of IVF & shouldn't even be considered an example/result of IVF in my opinion. Most that go through IVF, have means to pay for the procedure (hardship for many = you bet!) &/or insurance to pay for the potential NICU expense as a result of a twin/triplet pregnancy. Multiple pregnancies are high risk regardless of the means of conception! Obviously the mental state of this women if questionable at best - someone please tell me at what point does the welfare of these children become the priority & DHS become involved? To the Octuplet Mom "Get a job, provide a roof over your childrens head, food on the table, clothes on their backs - you don't need an agent or fertility doctor to do any of those things! Be a responsible, productive citizen instead of a Jerry Springer freek show!"

liz.mccarthy said...

Guess what I just heard? My good friend in LA (Hi Diana) is going through her 4th or 5th? round of IVF and SOOO wants to be a mom.

My friends IVF doc is nearby the octuplets IVF doc (Guess they finally released the docs name) and guess what... she saw tons of news cameras in front of his office as she was on the way to her doc, because it was just announced that he (the octuplets doc whose office is in Beverly Hills) was the IVF doc to another mom who is 49 and is pregnant with quads and has no insurance. She is on hospital bedrest. NO INSURANCE> How can you think of getting pregnant and not having insurance??

I'll have to do as search to find out more on this story too.

Anonymous said...

I really stay out of the news..especially sensationalism, but this story has grabbed my attention forcefully. It makes me incredibly angry and a bit in shock. To me it is just totally obvious that this woman is insane and in need of an intervention. I am 30 and opting to not have any babies, at least not any time soon, because I know that I can barely take care of myself properly, let alone a baby. This greedy, delusional b***h infuriates me. What she has done should be illegal and I believe that she is responsible rather than the doctor that implanted her. What actions can I take to prevent further injustices such as this from occuring? This story is a crime against nature, the environment and the other citizens of this country. This woman should be imprisoned and her children delivered into sane and capable hands. The exsistance of this story makes me feel powerless.

The Baldwin Family said...

I am 100% with you on this. I read your blog and always include you and your family in my prayers. You are an amazing woman and a terrific Mom.


Kim Baldwin