Her earning power, though, could be diminished by a growing ethical and
medical controversy. Experts believe that the unnamed fertility specialists
who gave her in vitro fertilisation (IVF) should not have implanted so many
embryos, and in choosing to carry all eight to term, Suleman ignored
guidelines, risking both their health and her own.
US public reaction has been mixed: many have asked how an unemployed single
mother can raise 14 children, as her first six have already strained the
family budget. Angela and Ed Suleman, Nadya’s parents,bought her a
two-bedroom bungalow in the suburb of Whittier in March 2007, but soon after
got into debt and had to leave their own home.
They filed for bankruptcy and moved in with their daughter and grandchildren.
Last week her father said he would return to his native Iraq to work as a
translator and driver.
Angela Suleman, who is caring for the first six children — one of whom is
autistic — while her daughter is in hospital, said yesterday that she had
consulted a psychologist over Nadya’s “obsession with children”.
Nadya Suleman, who describes herself as a “professional student” living off
education grants and parental money, broke up with her boyfriend before the
birth of her first child seven years ago.
The identity of the octuplets’ father remains unknown, but local reports
suggest they were conceived with frozen sperm donated by a friend she met
while working at a fertility clinic. He is the father of her twins, born two
Michael Tucker of the Georgia Reproductive Clinic, Atlanta, said Suleman’s
story stunned him. “We are policed by the American Society for Reproductive
Medicine, which frowns upon implanting more than two or three embryos at a
time. It is remarkable that any practitioner would undertake such a
The babies, born nine weeks prematurely by C-section, were attended to by 46
medical staff, who expected seven babies. When the eighth — a boy —
appeared, doctors were “confounded”.
Angela Suleman said her daughter was advised to terminate some of the embryos
in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy for the sake of her health, but she
refused because she did not know how to make such a life-or-death decision.
“She doesn’t have any more, so it’s over now. It has to be,” said the