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Judging Octomom The first of three essays on assisted reproductive technologies.
Just over a week after her eight babies were delivered by caesarean section in a California hospital, Nadya Suleman explained to an NBC reporter that her extraordinary pregnancy was the result of in vitro fertilization. Having conceived her first six children using IVF, Suleman said she visited her fertility doctor in 2008 and insisted that he transfer all of her six remaining frozen embryos at once. All six embryos implanted, and two divided to create twins. Like many familiar with the ins and outs of fertility treatment, I initially assumed that the octuplets resulted from Suleman’s body “overreacting” to fertility medications. The idea that IVF—the most controllable form of assisted reproductive technology—had been used in such clear contravention of current professional guidelines and practice was almost unthinkable.
Just over a week after her eight babies were delivered by caesarean section in a California hospital, Nadya Suleman explained to an NBC reporter that her extraordinary pregnancy was the result of in vitro fertilization. Having conceived her first six children using IVF, Suleman said she visited her fertility doctor in 2008 and insisted that he transfer all of her six remaining frozen embryos at once. All six embryos implanted, and two divided to create twins. Like many familiar with the ins and outs of fertility treatment, I initially assumed that the octuplets resulted from Suleman’s body “overreacting” to fertility medications. The idea that IVF—the most controllable form of assisted reproductive technology—had been used in such clear contravention of current professional guidelines and practice was almost unthinkable.
Josephine Johnston, "Judging Octomom," Hastings Center Report 39, no. 3 (2009): 23-25.