6 Feb 2009

Octuplets' mother dreamed of 'huge family'

7:38 pm on 6 February 2009

The mother of six who gave birth to octuplets in January says she always wanted a "huge family" and tried for years to get pregnant before conceiving her first child through in vitro fertilisation.

Nadya Suleman, 33, spoke of her loneliness as an only child and her quest to achieve motherhood through medical intervention in an NBC News television interview taped 10 days after her octuplets arrived.

Brief excerpts from the interview, to air in the US next week, were released by the network in advance.

The transcripts revealed few details of how Ms Suleman, unmarried, single and living with her mother in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier, came to be the parent of 10 boys and four girls, all reported to be the product of a sperm donor.

Her first six children are said to range in age from 2 to 7.

Asked by NBC's Ann Curry how an only child ended up with 14 children of her own, Ms Suleman said: "That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family."

Ms Suleman said she tried for seven years to get pregnant, going through various types of fertility assistance, before she finally conceived through an "IVF (in vitro fertilisation) procedure. ... From that facility, it was successful. And then I just kept going in," she said.

It was not clear whether the same procedure was used for any of her subsequent children, including the octuplets, born on 26 January.

For women under age 35 conceiving through in vitro fertilization, in which eggs and sperm are combined in a dish, physicians normally implant no more than two of the resulting embryos at a time.

Transferring more embryos than that under most circumstances would breach medical guidelines designed to avoid high-risk multiple pregnancies, fertility experts have said.

Ms Suleman's delivery of six boys and two girls - marking only the second known set of US octuplets to survive birth - was hailed as a medical triumph by the team of doctors who delivered them.

However it elicited dismay from many reproductive specialists, who said high-order births entail many perils for the mother and offspring.

The babies, delivered by Caesarean section nine weeks premature at a hospital in Los Angeles are all reported doing well.

Ms Suleman's mother, Angela, has been quoted in separate published interviews expressing frustration at her daughter's preoccupation with having children.

She has characterised her daughter as a "really good mother" but "a little misguided."