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'Octomum' doctor implanted 12 embryos

25 October 2010
Appeared in BioNews 581

US fertility doctor Dr Michael Kamrava implanted a total of 12 embryos into 'Octomum' Nadya Suleman, a licensing hearing is told.

Evidence put before the Medical Board of California, the state licensing body, revealed how medical records at the time indicated Dr Kamrava had transferred 12 embryos in providing IVF to Ms Suleman. On questioning, Dr Kamrava apologised saying Ms Suleman had insisted on this number and had consented to fetal reduction if it became necessary. He told the hearing he had been 'apprehensive' but had decided to go along with his patient's wishes after advising her of the risks involved.

The disclosure contradicts Ms Suleman's earlier assertions that only six embryos were implanted, two of which split leading to eight children born in January 2009.

State Deputy Attorney General Judith Alvarado told the hearing Dr Kamrava 'knew that a 12-embryo transfer was unsafe and below the standard of care'. Guidelines issued by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine specify no more than two embryos should be transferred to a healthy woman under 35.

Dr Kamrava's methods could have endangered Ms Suleman's health and the long-term health of the babies, fertility experts say. High orders of multiple births can result in long-term developmental delays in the child, cerebral palsy and various life-threatening ailments. Ms Suleman's babies were born nine weeks premature and are the world's longest-surviving set of octuplets.

Expert witness for the medical board and director of University of California, San Francisco In Vitro Fertilisation Program, Dr Victor Fujimoto, said Dr Kamrava made an 'extreme departure from standard of care by failing to refer Ms Suleman for a mental health evaluation before giving her fertility treatments'.

He added: 'I cannot imagine any colleague of mine transferring that many embryos'.

If found guilty of gross negligence in his treatment of Ms Suleman and two other patients, including a women who suffered complications during her pregnancy with quadruplets, Dr Kamrava may have his medical licence revoked. Last year he was expelled from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, but the non-profit group does not have legal authority to prevent him from practicing medicine.

The board is yet to reach a decision and the hearing is expected to last two weeks.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
'Octomom' doctor faces review board
The Washington Times |  18 October 2010
'Octomom' doctor risks losing medical license
Reuters |  19 October 2010
‘Octomom’ doctor takes stand in medical hearing
Los Angeles Times |  20 October 2010
'Octomom' fertility doctor could lose licence
Daily Telegraph |  19 October 2010
'Octomom' Nadya Suleman ignored advice, her doctor testifies
Los Angeles Times |  21 October 2010
Octomom's fertility doc testifies to save license
Associated Press |  20 October 2010
'Octomom' Suleman's doctor said her health necessitated aggressive fertility treatments
Los Angeles Times |  21 October 2010
Oh, Baby: Octomom's Doctor Could Lose His License
Time |  20 October 2010
Witness testifies 'octomom' Nadya Suleman's fertility doctor improved treatment, recordkeeping
Los Angeles Times |  20 October 2010
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