After Nadya Suleman's interview with Ann Curry aired on the Today show yesterday, the questions and public outcry grew over the new mother of octuplets. The Medical Board of California announced it was investigating the doctor who implanted six embryos in Suleman. Doctors have said it's highly unusual to implant so many embryos in a woman under 35; Suleman had used IFV successfully earlier times, resulting in six children from five pregnancies.

The LA Times delved into the hundreds of pages of state records, as well as watched the Today show interview, to "sketch a portrait of the 33-year-old Whittier woman." Suleman had applied for workers comp after being injured while working at a mental hospital, and doctors reviewed her case, leaving many records.

The LA Times reports, "For seven years, beginning in her teens, Nadya Suleman tried to have a baby. She suffered three miscarriages. She tried artificial insemination and fertility drugs, to no avail. By 2000, a back injury and her inability to bear children had sent her into a deep depression in which she told a psychiatrist that she had suicidal thoughts." The paper, noting Kaiser Permanente members who are worried that the cost of the octuplets' birth will be "borne by members," also calculates the octuplets' hospital bill to be about $300,000 by now.

On Thursday, NYU Fertility Center director James Grifo wrote on the NY Times Lede blog that regulation is not the solution, "Medicine cannot be practiced in a vacuum or by legislation. It requires a patient and physician dialogue, it requires decision-making that minimizes risk and maximizes good outcome, and it requires patients and physicians to make good decisions." However, the Center for Bioethics at University of Pennsylvania's Director Arthur Caplan writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The idea that doctors should not set limits on who can use reproductive technology to make babies is ethically bonkers.


If someone comes to a clinic with a history of child abuse, active drug addiction, and a rap sheet with serious felonies, should the doctor simply say: "If you have the money, I will make all the babies you want"? That gives cash and carry a whole new meaning.

Doctors have an obligation to consider patients' requests for treatment, but they do not have to honor them. One very good reason not to do so is if a doctor believes that what the patient wants would put children at grave risk.

Putting eight embryos into a woman is exactly that - putting kids at grave risk. Putting eight babies into the family of a single mom already trying to cope with six other young kids, with no money and little help, is putting kids at grave risk. The doctors who allowed Nadya Suleman to receive multiple embryos engaged in grossly unethical conduct.

NBC will air video of the octuplets on the Today show on Monday and more of Curry's interview with Suleman on Tuesday.