Are Octuplets' Mom, Doctor Unethical?

This image provided by NBC shows Nadya Suleman, left, speaking with Ann Curry in New York on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009, in Suleman's first interview since giving birth to octuplets last week. The interview is planned to be broadcast on the "Today" show on Monday, Feb. 9 and "Dateline" on Tuesday, Feb. 10. (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater) ** NO SALES ** AP Photo/Paul Drinkwater, NBC

A beaming mother and her eight new babies are raising critical questions about the ethics of embryo implants. Nadya Suleman gave birth last month to octuplets. She already had six children. In light of the controversy, CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes reports on the clinic, the doctor, and who should say enough.

While a medical team of 56 proudly announced their arrival, many have wondered what doctor would implant so many embryos in the mother in the first place. Today Suleman revealed she was treated at the West Coast fertility clinic in Beverly Hills run by Dr. Michael Kamrava,

Three years ago, Suleman was interviewed at Dr. Kamrava's office describing how easily in vitro fertilization (IVF) worked for her.

"It was a miracle," she said. "It happened right away. It worked the very first time."

Today, she told a different story.

"There is a very low probability of success in most procedures," Suleman said. "And on any given procedure one will grow maybe less so the most I would have ever anticipated would have been twins, it wasn't twins times four."

The California medical board says it is investigating the doctor who implanted Suleman - though Dr. Kamrava has not been named. The penalty ranges from reprimand to license revocation. While there is little legal oversight of IVF clinics, experts say there is a code of ethics.

"Very few physicians would put in more than two or three embryos in at one time especially (in a woman) under 40, especially with someone who has six children," says Dr. Peter Weiss, a fertility specialist.

In a recent online interview Suleman's mother complained she's been responsible for taking care of the six other children.

"To have them all is unconscionable to me," Angela Suleman said in the interview. "She really, really has no idea what she's doing to her children and to me."

And Suleman's mother isn't the only one getting the short end of the stick, according to a prominent bioethicist.

"Society is getting stuck with the bill when she made this choice to be an infertility patient," says Dr. Art Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. "It is more than her interests. It affects her kids and it affects the rest of us."

That's something many question whether this young mother comprehends.
By Sandra Hughes
  • Sandra Hughes

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