Saturday, July 23, 2011


Thanks to in vitro fertilization (IVF), the skyrocketing use of fertility drugs and the increasing number of women who delay childbearing until their 30s or 40s, the incidences of multiple births have increased in the past two decades.

In 1980, IVF — in which hormones are used to induce the production of eggs, which are externally fertilized and then implanted back into the uterus — became available in the U.S. Since then, the percentage of twins and triplets as a proportion of total births has increased several-fold.

It's almost as if no one is impressed by them anymore. Two kids? Blah. Three kids? A teeny bit warmer. But quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, septuplets, octuplets? Now we're talking. Multiple births have become easier, yet the dangers are very real for both mothers and children alike. More here.


Nadya Suleman became internationally famous when she gave birth to her eight babies – two daughters and six sons. The birth of healthy octuplets, nine weeks' premature, was initially welcomed as a heartening medical miracle. Noah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Josiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Maliyah and Makai are only the second full set of octuplets to be born alive in the U.S.  

The only other recorded case of live octuplet births was in Mexico City in 1967. All eight babies died within 14 hours.

But public opinion rapidly turned against the woman the U.S. media nicknamed Octomum, after it emerged that she was an unemployed single mother with six other young children, ranging in age from 2 to 7, no partner and was receiving welfare benefits.

Fertility experts suggested the case of Nadya Suleman and her octuplets constitutes a breach of medical guidelines. "It was a grave error, whatever happened," said Eleanor Nicoll, a spokeswoman for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which along with the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology provides medical guidelines for fertility treatments. "It should not have happened. Eight children should not have been conceived and born."

Michael Kamrava her fertility doctor, admitted to implanting her with 12 embryos, producing her octuplets.  This was, according to the Associated Press, six times the number normally implanted into a woman her age.  Kamrava’s medical license was revoked as of July 1 by the Medical Board of California, accused Kamrava of “repeated negligent acts.”

Nadya Suleman was born in Fullerton, California the only child of Angela Victoria and  Edward Doud Suleman. She became a psychiatric technician at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, California, before taking disability in 1999. In 2006 she received a degree in child and adolescent development at CSU Fullerton, but abandoned her graduate studies.

Her marriage collapsed after attempts to start a family failed.  In an interview with Inside Edition Gutierrez said Suleman was desperate and wanted to try in-vitro fertilization  but the husband disliked the idea of test tube babies, and refused. They separated in 2000 and he filed for divorce in November 2006, which was finalized in January 2008.

Between 2001 and 2006, she received in vitro fertilization treatments, resulting in six children. Not wanting good embryos wasted, and despite the fact that she had no means whatsoever of financial support, in 2008 Suleman had her remaining embryos implanted.

The octuplets turned two last January 26th and the older children are all under ten. All 14 were born through IVF and three of them are said to have disabilities. All 14 of her offspring are said to have the same sperm-donor father   but she declined to identify him.

Suleman’s dream of having a big family has now turned into her worst nightmare as she struggles to take care of her huge brood. 'Some days I have thought about killing myself. I cannot cope,' she said. Nadya Suleman used to receive over $400 a month in food stamps, but stopped getting them after she made enough money selling photos and doing video blogs that she could afford a $564,000 home. 

It costs a reported $15,000 a month for Suleman to support her 14 children. Octomom made her money doing various things like Celebridate, a dating show for the cable network HDNet, MMA fights, a celebrity boxing match, bikini photo shoots and several paid interviews across the world.

Now she has more paid engagements in the pipeline, including another celebrity boxing match, several more interviews and a possible instructional workout video.
More:  here, here, and  here.

Nonuplets – Zurina Mat Saad

A set of nonuplets were born on March 26, 1999 in Malaysia to Zurina Mat Saad. She had five boys and four girls (Adam, Nuh, Idris, Soleh, Hud, Aishah, Khadijah, Fatimah and Umi Kalsom) but none of them survived more than six hours

An earlier nonuplet pregnancy in Australia had resulted in two still borns.  Six babies died shortly after birth. One baby, a boy, survived for 6 days.  


  1. Hi Katrina, very interesting topic and many thanks for sharing..
    nadya was not married when she conceived those babies. Being a muslim, one must always look at the Islamic way/ law it or not- so, I cant agree with her actions. I wish she was still married then.

    Lets hope that nadya can manage her financial resources well through many years to come for the sake of her children

  2. I really had a good read, Katrina! Thanks for such a post! Mu God, the woman having the octuplets...hats off to her...she is very courageous to have given birth to the octuplets and taking care of them single-handedly must be really challenging! (Can't even imagine the scenario with eight children crying together!) Very brave.

    {Katrina, thanks for your comment on my recipe on Indian egg curry. Yes, potatoes do taste good in egg curry. Curry leaves and bay leaves are totally different! The tastes of both are strong but these two leaves can't be substituted with each other.
    Curry leaves are usually used in South-Indian cooking, but this is the egg curry of West Bengal (Eastern India) and curry leaves are not traditionally used in Bengali cooking. The aromatic bay leaves are dry, but curry leaves are used fresh.}

  3. That was a great article, I enjoyed reading it! I never understood these women who mindlessly make a lot of children and end up not being able to take care of them. I mean, she should have considered the fact that she would be a single mom and stopped what she was doing. It's hard to raise one or two children while being a single mom, not to mention 14 (I understand she had another 6 children from her previous attempt). I thinks she's just completely irresponsible and she only did it for fame so I don't agree with what she did.

  4. Dear CV, Purabi and Andreea.

    Thanks for your visits. Just cannot imagine, taking care of babies is easy, wonder how she is going to cope when they become teenagers!

    TMZ updates the progress of this family regularly, the recent pictures showing the scars left after delivering these Octuplets and how Nadia is managing her finances.

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