Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Octuplets' mum wanted huge family

Nadya Suleman in the NBC interview
The NBC interview is due to be broadcast next week

A Californian single mother-of-six who recently gave birth to octuplets has spoken for the first time about her desire to have a "huge" family.

In excerpts from a TV interview yet to be broadcast, Nadya Suleman said she wanted to make up for the loneliness she felt growing up as an only child.

Ms Suleman, 33, also defended her decision to conceive her children through in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The case has sparked a debate over the ethics of her treatment.

Fertility experts have raised concerns about the number of embryos implanted that resulted in the octuplets' birth, and questioned whether the procedure met medical guidelines.

Ms Suleman, whose six older children are aged two to seven, said that all 14 of her children were conceived through IVF with sperm donated by a friend.


Speaking to NBC's Today Show, due to be broadcast next week, Ms Suleman defended her decision to conceive by IVF.

All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That's all I ever wanted in my life. I love my children.
Nadya Suleman

"I took a risk. It's a gamble. It always is," she said.

"A lot of couples, usually it's couples, do undergo this procedure and it's not as controversial because they are couples so it's more acceptable to society.

"For me, I feel as though I've been under the microscope because I've chosen this unconventional kind of life. I didn't intend on it being unconventional, just it turned out to be," she added. Asked about her background as a single child, she said: "All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That's all I ever wanted in my life. I love my children.

"That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family.

"I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that... I really lacked, I believe, growing up."

She said she had tried for seven years to get pregnant before finally conceiving through IVF.

"From that facility, it was successful. And then I just kept going in," she said.

Asked whether she had considered reducing the number of embryos that had successfully implanted, she replied: "Oh no. Sometimes we have that dream and that passion, and we take risks. And I did and it turned out perfectly."

Kaiser Permanente Medical Center team
A huge team was needed to deliver the octuplets successfully

Ms Suleman's eight babies were delivered nine weeks early by Caesarean section in a hospital near Los Angeles on 26 January.

All are reported to be doing well.

The facility, the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower, California, has said it was not involved in the octuplets' conception.

The California Medical Board has begun an investigation into whether there was a "violation of the standard of care" in the case.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends that women of Ms Suleman's age have no more than two embryos implanted.

Fertility experts have pointed to a lack of regulation in the field and called for professional organisations to put stricter rules in place for doctors and clinics.

Multi-birth pregnancies come with a heightened risk of premature birth and health risks for the mother and the babies.

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