I want to begin this post by basing it on “facts” reported in the news (ABCNews, Reuters, LA Times, Times Online):
- single 33 yo mother, self described “professional student”
Nadya Suleman, who describes herself as a “professional student” who lives off education grants and parental money, broke up with her boyfriend before the birth of her first child seven years ago.
- six children, ages 7 yo, 6 yo, 5 yo, 4 yo, 3 yo, and 2 yo twins
- residing with her parents in a three bedroom home
- single mother’s own mother reports that her daughter used infertility treatments
- recently gave birth to EIGHT babies, The babies were born by Caesarean section nine weeks premature and ranged from 1 pound, 8 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces. The woman was carrying 24 pounds of baby.
- plans to breast feed (or more correctly use breast milk donated by other women to supplement her own)
- source of income (see above) – education grants and parental money though recently reported
THE single mother of octuplets born in California last week is seeking $2m (£1.37m) from media interviews and commercial sponsorship to help pay the cost of raising the children.
- no mention of her insurance coverage, if there is any
She seems (evidence is the six children she already has) to have had no need for infertility treatments. So why did any fertility clinic take her own as a patient? Were they more greed driven than patient driven? That is my (outsider) view.
Human females were not made to have litters, and that is what eight babies to me is. Sorry if I offend someone, but the risk of health issues related to such a pregnancy are multiple and serious:
- miscarriage, pregnancy-induced hypertension/stroke, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, acute polyhydramnios, vaginal/uterine hemorrhaging, and preterm labor & delivery.
Risks of complications to mother from premature delivery (incomplete list)
- Surgical and medical issues related to C-section
- Emotional issues
- Fatigue even if she has enough support
Risks of complication to each baby from premature delivery (incomplete list)
- Inability to breathe or breathe regularly on their own because of underdeveloped lungs
- Feeding and growth problems because of an immature digestive system
- Intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding into the brain)
- Hearing or vision problems related to immature nerves or treatment side effects
- Developmental delay and learning disabilities from brain damage related to immaturity
- Special problems for low birth weigh babies (less than 3.5 lbs)
Who pays for all of this and should we care?
Each one of these babies weighed less than 3.5 lbs. Lets assume they all live (and I hope they do and that they beat the odds and don’t have any major long-term health issues).
Median cost for NICU care (29 wk, 58 day stay in 1999) $61, 724 for each baby
Although still confined to an LA hospital bed, she intends to talk to two influential television hosts this week - media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and Diane Sawyer, who presents Good Morning America.
Other Blog Posts on This Topic
Fat Doctor – Six and Eight
Medical Quack -- Obsessed with Having Babies? Update on the Octuplets Story
Survive the Journey --Nadya Suleman's Octuplets -- How Many is too Many?
Dr Rob -- Don’t Forget the Kid(s)
NeoNurseChic – The Ethics of Octuplets
Moof -- Ooooopsie
Dr Cris – Making Babies or Saving Lives
Multiple Pregnancies, Maternal Risks – Womens Health Channel
Multiple Birth Pregnancy – University of Pennslyvania
Premature Babies – Medline Plus
Premature Births – March of Dimes