People shouldn't have litters

Well, after a couple of days attending to non-blogosphere matters, here I am again. Did you miss me?

Now that the stimulus package appears to be on its way to passage, with the collective hopes of many behind its success, I think it's safe to turn our attention to other matters. Pressing matters. Matters regarding women who give birth to entire sports teams.

Three smiling siblings, he says, were the first Japanese-American triplets conceived in a laboratory, while the robust-looking quadruplets were born after sperm was injected into their mother’s eggs with a needle.

To the couples who turned to Dr. Chiu to have families, the babies were special gifts. To the government and fertility industry, though, such large multiple births have begun to look like breakdowns in the system. The issue has taken on renewed scrutiny since a California woman, Nadya Suleman, who already had six children conceived through in vitro procedures, gave birth to octuplets near here last month.
Ms. Suleman has 14 children now, all of them conceived artificially. While I do not know Ms. Suleman, I wonder if perhaps there is a degree of vanity involved in deciding that one's genetic material is so very, very valuable that it should be propogated well beyond usual numbers. Particularly through artificial means. It is also questionable how ethical it was to implant [edit -- six] embryos in the first place.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the association of fertility doctors, even adopted guidelines in 2008 encouraging the transfer of only one embryo for women under 35, and no more than two, except in extraordinary circumstances. The guidelines allow more for older women, up to a maximum of five.
Ms. Suleman is 33. Correct my math if I'm wrong on this, but six > one, no?

It is easy (so, so easy) to criticize Ms. Suleman's decision. She is single. She is unemployed. Some people are supposing that she has a desire to emulate Angelina Jolie (in both behavior and appearance), though it should be noted that Ms. Jolie is gainfully employed and adopted many of her children. While I think Ms. Suleman is due for her fair share of criticism (and starting up a website so people can donate to the care of her brood is beyond the pale), I would like to ask a question of one Michael M. Kamrava, the doctor Ms. Suleman identifies as the man who implanted the embryos.

What, Dr. Kamrava, is your problem? You have an obligation to practice medicine ethically, and you have failed to do so in a profound and very public way. Apparently you are under investigation by the California Medical Board, and I can only imagine how you plan to defend yourself. Ms. Suleman, it seems needless to say, has some psychological problems that doubtless motivated her decision to seek your services. What, Dr. Kamrava, motivated you to provide them? Or shall I guess?

It also seems odd to heap opprobrium on one woman with 14 kids, when another family with eight has their own show and a website for fans to read devotionals. (It should be noted that the Gosselins used a different method of getting pregnant, and were not aware they were headed for sextuplets. However, this distinction isn't necessarily clear in the court of public opinion.) It's really not all that hard to imagine that an unhappy young woman would see birthing her own jury (plus alternates) as a ticket to fame and adulation. Again, one would have hoped that an ethical physician would have declined to proceed with such a risky and unnecessary procedure, but it appears that one wasn't involved.


  1. I agree with Perez Hilton that this lady probably thinks she is Angelina Jolie. The hair, nose, lips, enormous brood...

  2. Otherwise I have no comment except that I feel bad for the kids and I'm glad I'm not her. I bet she appears on Supernanny soon.

  3. For what it's worth, the doc implanted six, and two embryos divided. Not that that makes it ethical.

  4. Ah, yes. I saw that, and didn't bother to correct the above post.