Friday, January 30, 2009

6 + 8 = 14

Giving birth to octuplets is rare. 10 years ago a Houston couple had 8 babies. One died shortly after birth. This family had one older child. Now we hear of a young woman in California who has given birth to octuplets after having fertility treatment. She already had six children ages 7,6,5,3 and 2 year old twins. This does not sound like an infertility problem to me.

I had to take Clomid years ago. It took me a long time to have my first child and to help with my second pregnancy I chose Clomid which is a mild fertility drug which rarely results in more than two babies at once. Lucky me, I got the two. At that time the choices for help were Clomid, ovarian resection or trreatment which was only available at major medical centers. I chose the easiest, safest way first which worked for me, so I was lucky.

The young woman from California apparently chose the fertility treatments which are used more these days and are very expensive. Embryos were implanted hoping that a couple of them would survive. But why did she need fertility treatment in the first place? She obviously had no trouble getting pregnant the first 5 times. Add to this the fact that she is a young, single woman who lives with her parents and her six children. Six kids are expensive but fourteen kids could cost a couple of million dollars . Add to this the fact that no-one knows yet how the octuplets will fare. It is not uncommon for premature babies like these to have life long problems. I don't even want to think about the hospital bill or the doctor bills. And that is just while they are still in the hospital. The cost will go on for a long time. There have already been people donating to help defray the costs.

To me there are a lot of questions about all of this. Many medical ethicists are struggling with the decison made by this young woman and her doctors. Most fertility specialists say they would not implant any more than two to four embryos at any one time.When a woman has a multiple pregnancy it is both difficult for the mother and the growing babies. Should the doctors have implanted that many embryos? Will she be able to provide for all her children without help from others? Will the state end up paying for their care? Will she get a cable channel show about them? That would probably help. I understand her father is planning to go back to Iraq to do contract work to help with expenses.He also told the media that they have a really large house which, according to him, the media will never find.

There are a lot of couples who are desperate to have children, even one. They spend thousands of dollars on the chance of have a child. Some succeed but others don't. I have a great deal of empathy for these people. At first I was astounded that this woman was able to deliver so many babies. It is a marvel that they are all apparently healthy. But, now I have to wonder if this woman really needed fertility treaments. So many questions, so few answers.


Dr.John said...

I doubt we ever will get answers.

cube said...

This was wrong on so many levels. You have covered many of them.

Just because a technology exists, doesn't mean that it should be used especially in a case where the woman already has a bunch of children and, obviously, no fertility problems.

The Obama government will take care of her and her 14 childeren, i.e., the average taxpayer will foot the lion's share of the bill.

Catch said...

Im with you on this one...what in the world was she thinking of???? I dont think any house could be big enough for all of those children and even if she were married her husband would have to make a fortune to keep them all fed and clothed...its a crazy world we live in ya know?