You go home after a long day, flip on the tube and are greeted by more types of reality shows than you can count. Anyone can become famous today if they try hard enough; you could be on “The Real World,” “The Amazing Race” or even a show about having multiple children.
That’s what a woman who just had octuplets plans to do.
Nadya Suleman, 33 of Whittier, recently gave birth to eight babies, courtesy of in vitro fertilization. The catch is, this self proclaimed “professional student” already has six other kids under the age of 8. She is a single mother and has used in vitro to conceive all of her children while using education grants to support them.
According to a report by MSNBC, Suleman’s mother said her daughter “has been obsessed with having children since she was a teenager.” Her parents purchased her a two-bedroom bungalow, yet they couldn’t pay their own bills and had to move in with Suleman. The family filed for bankruptcy about a year ago. Her mother didn’t support her decision to have more than six children without a husband.
According to numerous news articles, this ordeal has created an ethical and medical controversy. Suleman used to work at a fertility clinic and reportedly used frozen sperm from a friend to conceive all her children.
Michael Tucker from the Georgia Reproductive Clinic said, “The American Society for Reproductive Medicine frowns upon implanting more than two or three embryos at a time.” Many health professionals are reporting that it is considered “malpractice” and “irresponsible” to implant more than three embryos (which multiply) and carry them all to full term because of the possible health risks to both the mother and the babies.
Suleman’s doctor warned her of the risks and urged her to terminate some of the embryos within the first 12 weeks, yet Suleman wouldn’t listen, reported CNN. The question remains where she got the money to pay for the procedure and who actually performed it.
Why would a woman who can barely support her children crave more? Perhaps she thought if her story was compelling enough to get on Oprah she would have her own TV show like TLC’s “Jon and Kate Plus 8” or “17 Kids and Counting.” People want to see happy stories, not watch a struggling woman collect welfare. Suleman is already asking for $2 million for interviews and is eager to talk with Oprah and Diane Sawyer to tell her story.
Perhaps the large family ideology from movies like “Cheaper by the Dozen,” shows like the “Brady Bunch” and Brad and Angelina’s ever growing brood are creating a fairy tale-like existence. Yet, in reality who is going to pay the bills and change the diapers? Maybe Suleman was envious of the free vacations, enormous houses and extra perks that come along with having a TV show that she decided to pop out children to get ahead in life.
Currently, Americans seem to be torn on how to approach this situation. Luckily the babies are safe and healthy for now, but how will they be cared for in the future if their mother has no source of income?
Kara Bautch is a senior journalism major and a contributing writer for the Daily Forty-Niner.