Octuplet mother unfit to raise family

March 5, 2009 — by Mira Chaykin and Synthia Ling

Nadya Suleman is the mother to six children. Suleman is jobless. She has no husband. She relies on food stamps and disability payments to support her family. She lives in her bankrupt mother’s three-bedroom home that’s in pre-foreclosure. And oh yeah, Suleman just gave birth to octuplets, bringing her total number of children to 14.

A year ago, with no clear source of income, poor living conditions and only one parent, the Suleman family was scarcely getting by. But even with her seemingly hopeless situation, Suleman decided to go through another round of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Every one of her 14 kids was born using IVF, a solution to infertility. In IVF, a female’s egg and a male’s sperm are transferred to a laboratory dish where fertilization occurs. Afterwards, the fertilized egg is transferred to the woman’s uterus to implant and develop.

For Suleman to bring these eight extra children into the world by IVF—children who will need food, education and health care—is unethical, especially since she relies on taxpayers’ money to support her and her children. Single and jobless, Suleman is in no position to be taking on the responsibility of anybody else’s life until she gets her own in order.

A woman who can hardly feed and take care of herself has absolutely no right to bring others into the same miserable conditions. Suleman’s mother calls her decision to have more kids “unconscionable” and claims that her daughter has become too obsessed with having children. Suleman’s father, also distressed by her actions, was reported in saying, “I question her mental situation.” All she talks about is having babies and the obsession is disturbing. Rather than seeing an obstetrician/gynecologist, she should see a therapist.

The questionable choice to have more babies will be detrimental to her kids. These children will grow up ostracized by their peers, knowing that they must live off taxes of others who are hesitant to pay them because of Suleman’s stupid decisions. The only other option is to stick them in already overcrowded foster care system, and hope that a more scrupulous person can afford them.

They will also inevitably be subjected to a lack of maternal attention. A newborn needs attention day and night and Suleman must care for the octuplets as well as six other children, all under the age of 8.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that a woman under the age of 35 should have a maximum of two embryos implanted though IVF. This is suggested in order to prevent multiple births that would highly risk the mother and babies’ health.

Suleman and her doctor clearly disregarded this guideline when she had six embryos implanted, two of which resulted in twins. The goal of doctors performing IVF is to produce a single, healthy infant, and multiple births are often looked upon as failures. It’s shocking that any trained professional would irresponsibly transfer so many embryos knowing the possible result.

The catastrophe is not purely Suleman’s fault in this respect. The doctor, when noticing that Suleman was in an inadequate position to undertake the task of raising a child, should have appealed to a higher medical authority.

All eight babies survived and are stable, but they were born nine weeks premature and their weights ranged from three pounds, one ounce to two pounds, 2 ounces, much less than the average weight of six pounds, five ounces. Heart problems, lung problems, seizures, jaundice and developmental delays are just some of the many health issues the octuplets face. Their hospital bill alone is estimated to be more than $1 million, money that Suleman is not even close to being able to pay.

In the middle of a recession, when so many people cannot pay for health care, Suleman has the audacity to expect taxpayers to bare her self-imposed burden. The selfishness and immorality of her actions are completely disgusting. To bring a child into a world where they are bound to be miserable merely because she desires more children is cruel. These children will never fully escape the public eye, and all of us will pay for their mother’s mistake.

5 views this week