twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Eight is ENOUGH

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Yesterday, a woman gave birth to six boys and two girls in California.

Eight babies

The mother was initially told she was carrying seven babies ... so everyone was surprised when the eighth was delivered. "It is kind of insane to expect seven and get eight, but I can see how it would be pretty tough to be able to clearly distinguish that many sacs and fetuses on an ultrasound," says momlogic OB/GYN Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz. "Once someone said that there were seven, I am sure everyone just looked for seven."

Even though it hasn't been confirmed, most believe this pregnancy had to be a result of some kind of fertility treatments, including in-vitro feritilization. But is it ethical to implant EIGHT embryos in one person? Our OB/GYN says NO.

"My question is who in the heck put that many embryos in this lady, and why is it not against the law to set up a human to have a litter?" Dr. Gilberg-Lenz, who has delivered twins and triplets and assisted in two deliveries of quadruplets, asks. "It is so dangerous. It's fantastic that they all appear to be OK right now, but it's totally irresponsible in my opinion."

She says implanting more than three to four embryos is frowned upon generally, "Because how many babies are you going to get?" She explains, "There are all these risks for the mother -- hypertension, hemorrhage, maternal mortality. It's very high risk. And there are so many risks for the babies -- all those complications that go along with multiples, including infant mortality. It's crazy. And for what? I feel implanting so many embryos is mercenary. It's just bad medicine."

Dr. Richard Paulson, director of the fertility program at the University of Southern California, said the latest births likely resulted from the use of fertility drugs, and that the children could face serious health risks.

"It's a risky decision to try to have all eight babies," said Paulson, who had no role in the delivery. "I would not recommend it under any circumstances, but I respect a parent's decision."

Increases in the use of fertility drugs have caused a surge of multiple births in the last two decades, specialists say. Many aging and childless couples are demanding aggressive fertility therapies more likely to produce multiple births. About three million infants have been born worldwide using IVF or other reproductive technologies.

Britain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and other European countries have banned putting more than three embryos in women undergoing IVF. Doctors who break the rules can lose their licenses, pay fines or face incarceration.

Although Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz feels strongly that the maximum number of embryos allowed to be implanted should be regulated, the U.S. has only voluntary guidelines. In 1999 the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommended that no more than two embryos should be placed in women under 35 undergoing IVF who produce healthy embryos. Those women who produce poor embryos could get three. Older women could get more. The voluntary guidelines were further tightened in 2004. They now state that women under 35 with a good prognosis should consider only one embryo and that no more than two should be transferred in this age group except under extraordinary circumstances. The new guidelines also say women between 35 and 37 should get only two embryos if they have a good prognosis. If they don't, they should get three but no more.

But those guidelines are VOLUNTARY, and many doctors implant more embryos to increase a woman's chance of becoming pregnant.

Rifaat Salem, the director of Pacific Reproductive Center in California, told the Wall Street Journal he doesn't always follow the guidelines because he often treats patients who have failed IVF at other clinics. Patients are people, not statistics, he says, and he judges each case on its merits. He says he doesn't hesitate to place "10 or 12" embryos in some women, even if they are under 35, as long as he feels their embryos are of inferior quality and unlikely to yield a pregnancy. Dr. Salem says none of the patients in whom he has introduced 10 or 12 embryos have had more than one baby.

If more than one embryo "takes," many women undergo a fetal-reduction procedure. That's the medical procedure of eliminating some fetuses in a multiple pregnancy in order to give the others a better chance to survive. But many are morally opposed to this procedure, and will just have the babies anyway, no matter what the risk.

Do you think it's ethical to implant so many embryos into one woman, or should there be limits? Comment below.

next: Jessica Simpson's Trainer: We All Gain Weight
58 comments so far | Post a comment now
Theresa R. Morgan January 30, 2009, 4:35 PM

This is a ridiculous happening. There needs to be rules about this type of event because most likely, the good old American tax payor will once again get hit with paying for someone else’s bad decision. The fact that this woment already has six other children makes this a crime in my opinion.

allison January 30, 2009, 4:53 PM

It is quite obvious that this woman lied to her doctors. No doctor would ever transfer so many embryos into a mother of six who stated that she would not reduce. She probably said that she only had one kid and that she was willing to reduce.

A January 30, 2009, 9:11 PM

I do not care how she ended up w/8 babies, ie IVI or IUI, this should NOT be happening.
Now there is speculation that she could bought fertility drugs OFF OF the INTERNET!! That buying these drugs is actully *easy* to do?!
WTF people?!?!
The more info that comes out the more it sounds like this is true. The person who said this woman will be fine because shell be just like that “reality show”, are you kididng?
Either way (whether this woman did it on her own or w/doctors help)this just does not sound like this woman is of sound mind. And yes I am being judgemental but this is just not healthy, it’s down right scary and sad! It sounds like this whole situation needed judgement a long time ago.

Anonymous January 31, 2009, 9:33 PM

Or are we talking FATHERS plural?

RS February 1, 2009, 12:27 AM

I went through IVF several times before success and the maximum that any of my RE’s would ever transfer was 4 and that was due to several factors including my age, the poor quality of my eggs, the grades of the resulting embryos, etc… It is NOT true that RE’s want to transfer a high number of embryos during one cycle. An RE’s worst fear is a HOM pregnancy. According to my RE’s that is considered mismanagement of a cycle and not looked upon favorably by the field. And contrary to some reports in the media, an RE can refuse to treat a patient. I’ve known of RE’s who have not accepted potential patients or divorced themselves from patients because they felt taking on the case would severely compromise their otherwise ethical and medically safe practices

If as is being reported, this woman did IVF in the US, and the RE was aware of her past history (age, single, 6 children under 7) that RE should be sanctioned for being irresponsible and reckless. With

Humanist February 1, 2009, 1:44 AM

I think modern medicine is amazing. And no I don’t think that just because someone has infertility they should “just adopt” or be childless. Adoption is not for everyone. But this is abuse of the medical system. From my discussions with Reproductive Endocrinologist, her multiples are most likely due to ovulation stimulation and IUI. Most RE’s follow a set of ethics and will either stop the cycle, convert to and IVF cycle so they can control the number of embryos, or make sure the patient is open to a reduction. There are huge risks associated with prematurity. She is lucky she didn’t lose the whole pregnancy or any babies in the process. The fact that this has turned out as well as it has glorifies a situation that has no glory. No baby should be born under these circumstances. What about the suffering they could face as a result of their prematurity or limited resources? Why is it that people believe an embryo to have rights, but not a baby? And to the first poster, selective reduction is not abortion! You may want to look up the medical definition. The idea of a reduction is to try and reduce the risk and make sure that the babies born have the best possible outcomes.

Brenda  February 1, 2009, 4:43 AM

It isn’t anything I would have ever wanted to do, but if the parents can handle it, I don’t see where it should be a problem. I really hope there are never any laws regarding how many children someone can have. Maybe some like the idea of living in a police state, but I don’t.

ana February 1, 2009, 9:02 AM



CalSailor February 1, 2009, 10:51 AM

Yes, Amy, it is her body, and she has a right to choose, but where do her rights end and the rights of the kids (all 14! apparently) begin? Why does the right to have as many kids as possible overtake the ethical responsibility to be able to physically and financially care for them…and that, in this case includes the millions of dollars in hospital bills being incurred right now?

And where does the mother’s mental stability come in? How does she intend the physical care of 8 newborns/ infants/ toddlers, etc., without a spouse? Married couples with 4 kids have testified how much of a marathon it is.

This whole thing is a tragedy. The doctor involved should be questioned as to his ethical practices, and maybe have his license in jeopardy. At the least, he should have demanded mental screening, as she already presented as a single parent with children. A home visit by a social worker would perhaps have prevented this whole episode. Six little kids running around in a three bedroom house…and now 8 more. Does anyone want to guess how much 6 15 year old boys can eat at a single meal?????

This is totally irresponsible on all levels.

jma February 1, 2009, 11:35 AM

People like her need one thing and one thing only….MANDATORY STERILIZATION !.
People who do not have the means of supporting their brood, especially if unmarried, should be Sterilized once they’ve dropped their first load, be it one kid or however-many…If not, the tax-paying citizens will continue to have to pick up the tab for all these never-ending illegitimate rug-rats…
This cow is nothing but a baby-machine with the mind-set of a baby-machine and the intelligence of a child. And she apparently has no means of supporting her tribe and has to rely on her family…and, undoubtedly, some sort of Public Assistance…
She has been “obsessed with having children” (according to her family) since she was young but she has never attempted to do it the “correct” way (ie…marriage or, at least, a “partner” who would “be there” for the kids)…and her parents have, apparently, never attempted to stop her.
Which brings up a legit question…Where did the money for her fertilization come from?…This is NOT an INEXPENSIVE procedure?…
Maybe she needed psychological counseling but…hey…it’s too late now…She should have been sterilized after the first 6, now there are 14…and this cow wants more! She is a whack-job and should have her baby-factory shut-down…
And don’t bother with your emails voicing “outrage” that anyone should be so cruel/heartless/evil (take your pick) to even suggest Sterilization of these mindless twits who insist on having kids without the means of supporting them…I’ll bet a LOT of you have the same thought/feeling but just don’t have the gumption to suggest it….

quadfather February 1, 2009, 4:21 PM

Parenting is more than bringing a child or children into the world. If someone presents to a fertility specialist who is unmarried and has multiple children already. Well, can we have some common sense in this crazy time we live in. These kids are way behind the 8-ball and need a dad as much as they meed a mom. I mean PLEASE!

glorizee February 2, 2009, 12:32 PM

I love babies all babies. I wish nothing but the best for this family. the reality of this whole scenario is: This woman does not have a significant other she is single. she does not have employment. how could she she has six more children at home (she lives with her mother) all under the age of seven. she is 33 years old and all her children were from sperm donor not through physical contact. She is not infertile. she has been pregant five other times. From my understanding embroyo transplants are expensive. she has had five now with this pregnancy that makes 6. who paid for each of these pregancy’s. life is not fair, life is not equal, but someone should be held accountable…each one of these pregnancy…were not done in the natural way…I beleive we will all be held responsible for the acts of a few irresponsible doctors,social workers,etc. rules will be implemented that will set the medical treatment of infertilty back a hundred years. This was not a blessing from god (although every child is a blessing) this was manipulation of selfish people to become famous. God gives us free will. God gave us the ability to know right from wrong. Bless the babies. they have a long road ahead of them. all fourteen of them. Shame on the mother and the doctors that let this happen, no they did not let this happen… they made it happen! Maybe they should foot the bill!

linda paslay February 7, 2009, 3:45 PM

if this woman was out on worker’s comp with a spinal injury how in the world did she carry all these babies with a bad back? did she require surgery, was she on medications? if you claim a back injury and collect benefits why did workers comp not question the validity of her injury? you go to your w. comp doctor and he has to review your claim constantily over several weeks at a time. did he not report the woman was pregnant the whole time she recieved benefits? why did not her adjuster question this. i have had two spinal surgies and this has been the most degrading years of my life and they have hasseled me over everything, down to mileage to the doctor to pain mgmt. doctors being taken away from me and my private insurance taking care of me when it was there responsibility. this should of been the last thing recommended for back problems and she seemed to just slip thru the system with 7 pregnancies. come on what gives?

Denise February 12, 2009, 2:01 PM

I am horrified by the doctor who stated that he doesn’t hesitate to implant 10 to 12 embryos if they are of poor quality. What kind of babies are likely to result should those poor quality embryos survive?

It’s time to start regulating infertility treatment. This is malpractice.

johann February 12, 2009, 2:18 PM

before we get to the real problem will someone tell me how this unemployed mother of 6,of which three are on ssi with some sort of medical problems,can pay to have her lips pumped up and her fingernails done?Now the real question,if you have to pass a means test to get credit even to buy a car how can we allow the most single important thing we do as humans get to this stage she would not pass even the most simple of tests.(not the least of which is a mental test as the latest interviews show she is living in “de nile”

anonymous February 12, 2009, 3:44 PM

she should have been more responsible and otten her life in order before she had all these babies that the community and state will have to take care of

each will get what is deserved February 12, 2009, 7:20 PM

She is an opportunistic b*&^h. Wants money that’s all. She don’t care about any of us and our coments. She don’t care that tax payers will pick up her tabs. She is a scam artist.

Becky February 12, 2009, 7:25 PM

This is what happens when you live in a free country. People feel they have a right to do whatever they want and the rest get f’d and pay for it.

johann February 12, 2009, 11:06 PM

UPDATE— octo-doc has now done it again this time with a 49 yr.old who gave birth to a set of 4 (kids will be 10 and mother 60)she also has no med/coverage.WHO IS PAYING THIS QUACK to do this?

KATIE February 13, 2009, 1:16 AM


Back to top >>