Page last updated at 22:58 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Octuplet 'father' wants DNA tests

Isaiah, one of the octuplets (image from NBC News)
The eight babies were born nine weeks premature but healthy

A former partner of the US woman who gave birth to octuplets in Los Angeles last month has said he could be their father, and that of their six siblings.

Denis Beaudoin told ABC News that he had donated sperm to his former girlfriend Nadya Suleman three times.

He has requested DNA paternity testing but said he would help Ms Suleman raise the children whatever the results.

ABC said Ms Suleman had denied Mr Beaudoin was the father but had agreed to paternity tests being carried out.

Mr Beaudoin told ABC's Good Morning America that Ms Suleman had asked him to donate sperm as she had ovarian cancer and was unable to have children.

He said he thought her request was "out of the ordinary" but that he had agreed as he "cared about her so much".

Mr Beaudoin said he was "shocked and surprised" when he heard that Ms Suleman had given birth on 26 January and that he did not believe her denials that he was the father.

"It just seems like a lot of her statements that she's made have been really inaccurate," he said.

"She initially told me the whole reason for donating sperm in the first place was to get pregnant, because she was not going to be able to have kids. And it has turned into this."

Questions raised

Nadya Suleman in the NBC interview
Ms Suleman's use of IVF to conceive 14 children has been criticised
The birth of the eight healthy babies, nine weeks premature, was initially hailed as a medical marvel around the world.

But the public and media attitude changed after it emerged that Ms Suleman was already a mother of six, living in her parents' small home and receiving state aid.

Her use of IVF to give birth to all 14 children was also criticised by fertility experts, who questioned whether medical guidelines were met when the embryos were implanted on the last occasion.

Ms Suleman told the US media earlier this month that she wanted a big family to make up for feeling lonely as a child.

"All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That's all I ever wanted in my life. I love my children," she said.

Mr Beaudoin said she had never discussed wanting to have a large family but just had "an urge to have a child because she was not able to".

However, he said that whether or not the tests proved he was the father, he would "lend a helping hand," if Ms Suleman said she needed it.

"It's hard nowadays to raise two kids, let alone 14," he said.

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