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'Octomum's' IVF doctor expelled from ASRM

20 October 2009
Appeared in BioNews 531

The US fertility doctor responsible for transplanting six embryos into a woman who gave birth to octuplets last January has been struck off by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) - although he is still able to practice as membership of the professional society is only voluntary.

The ARSM made the decision in September following an investigation but did not name the doctor until last weekend. Speaking to USA Today, Sean Tipton, spokesman for the ASRM said that the doctor concerned was Dr Michael Kamrava who runs the West Coast IVF Clinic in California. Nadya Suleman sought IVF treatment at the clinic last year and Dr Kamrava transferred six embryos - four more than the recommended number. Two of the embryos divided in utero and Suleman gave birth to eight children, in addition to the six she already had also conceived through IVF. The event gathered media attention and the ASRM looked into the doctor's practice. Suleman was 33 years old at the time and a single mother receiving state benefits. Following the controversy, some US states, including Georgia and Missouri, looked into introducing legislative measures to limit the number of embryos that can be implanted at any one time. The Medical Board of California also launched an investigation into the doctor's possible 'violation of the standard of care'.

'Within the last few years, we have changed our by-laws to allow us take disciplinary action against members and, just this week, have expelled a member for cause,' Tipton said. 'We have a disciplinary committee that gathers information, we give people an opportunity to explain themselves, and then we take action if the committee thinks it's necessary,' he explained. The ASRM said that Dr Kamarava displayed a 'pattern of behaviour that was detrimental to our field and not up to our standard.' The society recommends that for women under 35 years old up to two embryos should be implanted, but increases this to a maximum of five for women over 40. However, the society is likely to announce even stricter guidelines at its annual conference in Atlanta this week. There are health concerns over transferring more than one embryo during IVF because of the increased chances of multiple births, which is risky for both mother and child, and can lead to developmental problems and increased risk of miscarriage. Suleman's octuplets were nearly 10 weeks premature with low birth-weights ranging between 1.8 and 3.4 pounds. Specialists say it may be years before the extent of their medical issues are known.

Speaking to NBC News in February, Suleman explained her decision to have all six embryos implanted. 'Those are my children. And that's what was available and I used them. I took a risk. It's a gamble. It always is,' she said. Dr Kamrava has declined to comment on the issue. It is reported that he has previously treated another women in her late 40s and transferred at least seven embryos. The women in question then gave birth to quadruplets.

The ASRM does not have the power to revoke medical licenses from its members but Tipton said that some insurance policies fertility doctors are required to take out to practice will only cover its members. 'I think it's our responsibility to set standards of care,' he said.

6 June 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
The US fertility doctor who helped 'octomum' Nadya Suleman give birth to a total of 14 children through repeated IVF treatments, has had his licence revoked by the Medical Board of California....
14 February 2011 - by MacKenna Roberts 
'Octomum' fertility doctor, Dr Michael Kamrava, could still be struck off despite a judge's recommendation to the contrary, according to a decision made by the Medical Board of California, the state's medical licensing body....
31 January 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
A US judge has recommended that Dr Michael Kamrava, a Beverly Hills fertility doctor responsible for providing IVF to 'Octomum' Ms Nadya Suleman, should be allowed to continue practising as a doctor....
25 October 2010 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
US fertility doctor Dr Michael Kamrava implanted a total of 12 embryos into 'Octomum' Nadya Suleman, a licensing hearing is told....
19 July 2010 - by Louise Mallon 
The fertility doctor who helped 'Octomum' Nayda Suleman conceive octuplets transferred seven embryos to another woman, according to the Medical Board of California...
23 August 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard 
A Tunisian woman in her 30s who earlier this month claimed to be pregnant with 12 babies, has been exposed by the country's health ministry as a fraud. The woman, from the town of Gafsa told hospital workers that she was expecting six boys and six girls....
9 March 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts 
Public outrage over the IVF-conceived octuplets born in January to Nadya Suleman in California has led US legislators in Missouri and Georgia to propose laws that would limit the number of embryos a woman may have implanted when receiving a single fertility treatment. Georgia Senator Ralph Hudgens...
16 February 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The decision to implant six embryos into Nadya Suleman leading to the birth of octuplets has attracted international opprobrium. The 33-year-old unemployed single mother already had six children conceived after IVF with the same fertility doctor; all aged below eight, including two-year-old twins and an autistic...
1 February 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts 
Last Monday, eight babies - six boys and two girls - were born to a woman, whose identity has not been released, in Southern California at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Centre. The babies were delivered by a team of 46 attending professionals within a span of five minutes by...
26 January 2009 - by Shantal Rajah 
Elective single embryo transfer (eSET) policy implementation has raised many issues among patients, IVF experts and fund holders. The main concern in relation to this policy is that we do not know how much, and by what percentage, it will reduce the pregnancy rate in our patients. The policy says...
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