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Octuplets' Mom "Obsessed" With Having Kids

The woman who gave birth to octuplets this week conceived all 14 of her children through in-vitro fertilization, is not married, and has been obsessed with having children since she was a teenager, her mother said.

Angela Suleman told The Associated Press she was not supportive when her daughter, Nadya Suleman, decided to have more embryos implanted last year.

"It can't go on any longer," she said in a phone interview Friday. "She's got six children and no husband. I was brought up the traditional way. I firmly believe in marriage. But she didn't want to get married."

CBS News had been respecting the stated wishes of the family not to identify Nadya Suleman, but her family supplied her name for The AP to make public.

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Nadya Suleman, 33, gave birth Monday in nearby Bellflower. She was expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days, and her newborns for at least a month.

A spokeswoman at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said the babies were doing well and seven were breathing unassisted.

The news that the octuplets' mother already had six children sparked an intense ethical debate. Some medical experts were disturbed to hear that she was offered fertility treatment, and troubled by the possibility that she was implanted with so many embryos.

Her fertility doctor has not been identified.

Dr. Mark Surrey, a fertility expert, told Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman that it is irresponsible and medically risky to implant eight embryos. "(Any doctor who would do that) should be criticized, censured, and professionally reviewed," Surrey said.

"I don't know of anyone who would applaud this as a good outcome," said Surrey, adding that it was fortunate that all eight babies survived.

"I completely agree with Dr. Surrey," Dr. James Grifo, Program Director at the New York University Fertility Center and one of the nation's top infertility specialists, told Early Show Saturday Edition co-anchor Erica Hill. "I know no physician who would put eight embryos in a patient. We don't do that, because of the risks. Our goal as practitioners is to help patients have a healthy offspring.

"Single pregnancies, where a single baby is born, are the best outcome. And those alone are risky. When you have twins, you add more risk. And when you have triplets, it's even more risk, and it's logarithmic the number of babies."

Other medical experts worried that she would be overwhelmed trying to raise so many children and would end up relying on public support.

But Grifo said, "As a doctor, you treat infertility. It's not clear that this patient was infertile. Infertility is defined as a year of trying without being able to get pregnant. Whether someone has one baby, no babies, or six babies, if they tried for a year to get pregnant and meet the criteria for infertility, we then treat them.

"But we don't start with in-vitro fertilization treatment. Someone like this may get pregnant with much simpler treatments that have less risk and less chance of multiples. I don't know the story, but it does not make sense.

"Most of us in this situation, a woman under 35, would only put two embryos back, except in the extreme example of a patient who's failed multiple attempts. We might put a third embryo in that situation. But I don't know people putting six embryos back."

The Sulemans moved to Whittier, about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, after they declared bankruptcy and abandoned a home elsewhere, Kauffman has reported.

Perhaps, Kauffman suggests, they were trying to keep a low profile, but there's no chance of that now: Every move they make outside their home is caught on tape.

At one point, Kauffman points out, Nadya Suleman's father got into a testy exchange with reporters.

"(Nadya's) fine," he said. "The babies are fine, everybody's fine, except us -- because of you! That's all!"

He insists the delivery of octuplets wasn't the plan, saying, "She did not seek to have more children. She thought she was going to have one more child."

While her daughter recovers, Angela Suleman is taking care of Nadya's other six children, ages 2 through 7, at the family home.

She said she warned her daughter that when she gets home from the hospital, "I'm going to be gone."

Angela Suleman said her daughter always had trouble conceiving and underwent in-vitro fertilization treatments because her fallopian tubes are "plugged up."

There were frozen embryos left over after her previous pregnancies and her daughter didn't want them destroyed, so she decided to have more children.

Her mother and doctors have said the woman was told she had the option to abort some of the embryos and, later, the fetuses. She refused.

Her mother said she doesn't believe her daughter will have any more children.

"She doesn't have any more (frozen embryos), so it's over now," she said. "It has to be."

Nadya Suleman wanted to have children since she was a teenager, "but luckily she couldn't," her mother said.

"Instead of becoming a kindergarten teacher or something, she started having them, but not the normal way," he mother said.

Her daughter's obsession with children caused Angela Suleman considerable stress, so she sought help from a psychologist, who told her to order her daughter out of the house.

"Maybe she wouldn't have had so many kids then, but she is a grown woman," Angela Suleman said. "I feel responsible and I didn't want to throw her out."

Yolanda Garcia, 49, of Whittier, said she helped care for Nadya Suleman's autistic son three years ago.

"From what I could tell back then, she was pretty happy with herself, saying she liked having kids and she wanted 12 kids in all," Garcia told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

"She told me that all of her kids were through in vitro, and I said 'Gosh, how can you afford that and go to school at the same time?'" she added. "And she said it's because she got paid for it."

Garcia said she did not ask for details.

Nadya Suleman holds a 2006 degree in child and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton, and as late as last spring she was studying for a master's degree in counseling, college spokeswoman Paula Selleck told the Press-Telegram.

Her mother told the Los Angeles Times all the children came from the same sperm donor but she declined to identify him.

Birth certificates reviewed by The Associated Press identify a David Solomon as the father for the four oldest children. Certificates for the other children were not immediately available.

The octuplets - six boys and two girls - were delivered by Cesarean section weighing between 1 pound, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Forty-six physicians and staff assisted in the deliveries.

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