Octuplets were product of six embryos, mother says

Fri Feb 6, 2009 7:26pm EST
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The California woman who gave birth to octuplets less than two weeks ago said in an interview broadcast on Friday that her babies were the product of six implanted embryos, the same procedure used to conceive her six other children.

In the NBC television interview, Nadya Suleman, 33, also defended her decision to have so many children and suggested she was being singled out for harsh public criticism in part because she is a single mom.

Suleman, dubbed "Octo-mom" in New York tabloids, went public as the California Medical Board launched an inquiry into the fertility treatments leading to the birth of her octuplets, delivered on January 26, 9-1/2 weeks premature.

The arrival of the six boys and two girls marked only the second known set of U.S. octuplets to have survived birth.

"I feel as though I've been under the microscope because I've chosen this unconventional kind of life," Suleman told NBC News. "I didn't intend on it being unconventional. It just turned out to be. All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That's all I ever wanted in my life."

Suleman has been ridiculed for seeking to expand her family through fertility assistance when she already had six children, with TV therapist Dr. Drew Pinsky calling it "child abuse."

But her case also has drawn dismay from experts in reproductive medicine, who say they work hard to avoid high-number multiple births because of the health risks they pose to mother and offspring.

Under guidelines for in vitro fertilization, in which sperm and eggs are combined in a dish, doctors normally implant no more than two or three resulting embryos back in the mother's uterus, specialists say.   Continued...

<p>Nadya Suleman (L) is shown being interviewed by NBC correspondent Ann Curry. REUTERS/Paul Drinkwater/NBC/Handout</p>