January 29th, 2009
06:44 PM ET

Extreme multiple births carry tremendous risks

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/01/28/octuplet.risks/art.preemie.foot.gi.jpg caption="The earlier a baby is born, the greater its risk of dying or facing significant lifelong problems."]

Madison Park

After the birth of octuplets this week, some doctors are questioning the ethics and medical practice that contribute to extreme multiple births.

Multiples have higher health risks because of their likelihood to be born premature. Many premature babies, such as the new California octuplets, are much smaller and face greater dangers than full-term.

These risks include bleeding in the brain, intestinal problems, developmental delays and learning disabilities that could last throughout their lives. But not all preemies have medical or developmental problems.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    @ Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Nadya Suleman of Whittier, California Her real first name is Natalie but she changed it to Nadya, Her High school anual is on line

    Having huge families is a thing of the past. 2,000 years ago the population was not 6.80 billion According to Wikipedia, As of March 2009, the world's population is estimated to be about 680000000000. Each person on this planet takes from the planet. American babies being the worst, by taking the most from our planet.
    Diaper Statistics: An estimated 18 billion single-use diapers are thrown in landfills each year, taking as many as 500 years to decompose, and commonly contain raw, untreated sewage. Disposable diapers make up the third largest source of solid waste in landfills, after newspapers and food and beverage containers9. It takes upwards of 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp, or a quarter-million trees, to manufacture the disposable diapers.

    February 20, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  2. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    The children will be the ones who suffer! That is why I think this woman was extremely selfish. The children will continue to suffer even if other family members help or outside help. Premature children will have many physical problems plaguing them all their lives.

    It is very sad. She will probably end up in jail or prison for welfare fraud as she received $165,000 on Workman’s comp, had at least 4 plastic surgeries while getting state aide. So the 14 children will end up in group homes. We already have too many children living in group homes as there are not enough families to take them. The children are the ones who will pay for their mother’s bad behaviors.

    After living in a country that has 2 billion people, watching the population rise in the USA scares me. You have no idea what it is like to live in a country with 2 billion people

    February 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  3. Vernon

    She was nuts to want to have even one more. I don't believe procreation is any longer a right. Why, because an increase in population anywhere in the world negatively impacts the whole world. This is the most selfish & irresponsible act I've ever heard of. What ever happened to the cry for zero population growth? Anyone around from the 70's anymore?
    Lancaster, Ca.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:37 am |
  4. Vernon

    She already has 6 kids. Now she and the State of California have a total of 14 to raise. She was nuts to want to have even one more. I don't believe procreation is any longer a right. Why, because an increase in population anywhere in the world impacts the whole world. This is the most selfish & irresponsible act I've ever heard of. What ever happened to the cry for zero population growth? Anyone around from the 70's anymore?
    Lancaster, Ca.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:31 am |
  5. Anna

    Yes I, too, heard and read (Google it) that the mother already has six children at home.

    There's no mention via the media (yet) of fertitility drugs being involved, but if so, how on earth does a woman convince a doctor that she wants more babies - in this case, eight of them - when she's already got six at home? Whassup with that?

    I can't believe these are "blessings". I believe these kind of multiple births, are what happens, when modern medicine intervenes with the bodies God gave us.

    January 29, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  6. Jessica

    I realize that the family is fortunate to have had the children. However, I do not think it is fair for the babies. It is not there fault that there parents decided to be risky. The babies never had a choice in this matter. Although I am stating the obvious, sometimes the obvious should not be overlooked. I hope the babies grow healthy and strong. In the future, couples should look at other options, maybe adopting. There are so many wonderful children out there who need a home. When you adopt a child, you save a life and save the world in a small way. My boyfriend and I have agreed to adopt. I wish more people would adopt.

    January 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  7. Marilyn FL

    Is it true the mother have 6 children already?!! (before d octuplets)...

    January 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  8. EJ (USA)

    Wow – so she has 14 kids now? Whew!

    Well – I don't know if this makes some people happy or not – but there is no way this woman is not going to do a reality show or some type of marketing of the babies. So perhaps she will be able to pay for all of them with the publicity she is going to receive. I would think her new family of 14 will get quite a lot of offers.

    This is only the 2nd set of live octuplets born in the US – and the other set lost one baby a week after. So if she has the 1st set of octuplets to live – I think she and the kids (even the other 6) will be set for a while. So maybe – this unexpectedly takes her off of welfare.

    And even if she were on welfare – I don't think 1 case of a family being on welfare is enough to raise my ire. I have a feeling that the doctors were not supportive of her multiple-births. She could easily have died and the babies could've died – like what happened with that other couple in the midwest a couple years back. I think they lost 7 of their 8 babies.

    Interesting case. There may have been some "truths" that were not exactly told upfront to the doctor(s). That's how that 63 year old woman in California was able to have a baby about 15 years back. She lied about her age to the fertility doctor. Plus – the doctors cannot force a woman to reduce the number of embryos once they are fertilized – They can only recommend it. So we'll see- sounds like a very intriguing story.

    January 29, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  9. Isabel, RJ, Brazil

    The recent advances in biotechnology have brought enormous benefits that virtually allow the control of life from its conception, maintenance, repair and order. Among these improvements are detached the artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.

    Indeed, advances in biotechnology have to find limits does not violate the fundamental rights of man, and both need to be regulated, since the law, yet, does not address the very issue.

    Solution for some, abuse of power (with the thinking that man is God), or lack of ethics.

    For those who try to conceive for years, the techniques of biotechnology, are necessary.
    My cousin tried for 9 years and now has a beautiful child. Oh, and she still managed to carry the pregnancy to the end, different from me, that despite having pregnant by natural methods, I needed to do a cesarean section, 3 weeks before because my baby was BIG (3550kg and 52cm) and the liquid and space over.

    January 29, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  10. Len Allen

    I see Rush Lembaugh has put his weight back on...so that means is back is probably hurting...so if the Republicans want to follow his I guess they will have to follow him around while he scores some "crack" for that so call pain in the back...only a person on drugs would wish the President of this country would fail....Len Allen

    January 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  11. jarrod

    did anybody notice that kaiser permenante made it in the news twice this week one seven deaths and the other 8 babies??

    January 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  12. Cindy

    @ EJ...the neighbors of the woman that had the 8 babies have told ABC news that she has 6 other kids that she doesn't take care of. That she lives with her parents and is not married. And that she is on welfare. I can't say for sure if any of this is true but that is what ABC reported.


    January 29, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  13. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Can someone from CNN find out if these "facts" are indeed "facts"? I find it interesting that no one knows the mother's name, but everyone knows her entire life story and is willing to judge based on this (mis)information.

    January 29, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  14. R holder

    This lady has 6 kids already and now 8 more and lives with her parents.and is single..I know that any decent fertility clinic would have screened her first for ability to support more children and also not implanted multiple eggs for the health risks involved...I understand the need or want to have a family but this is crazy..and if she is on welfare Does welfare cover fertility clinics??

    January 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  15. EJ (USA)

    Lisa, what are you talking about? Do you have information that the rest of us don't have?

    January 29, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  16. Lisa

    1. Not "parents" – single mom who lives at home
    2. Health Care – you and me, baby!
    3. She's on welfare and doesn't take care of the six she already has

    So, yes, if we are paying, we CAN judge.

    The doctors who helped her get pregnant w/ 8 should have their licenses revoked.

    January 29, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  17. Annie Kate

    I can hardly believe that babies born at 30 weeks can survive much less that these 8 are doing so well so far. It wasn't that long ago that babies born at less than 36 weeks had a very questionable survival rate. Medicine has sure come a long way in this respect. I am happy for the family that things are going so well so far but I don't envy them the long days and nights ahead of them when the babies are finally well enough to take home & I hope they have good health insurance.

    January 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  18. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    I think all children are born for reasons we may or may not understand, they are gifts, and we really don't have the right to judge the parents who wanted these children and obviously love them no matter what difficulties lie ahead. All pregnancies are a craps shoot if you think about it. All have some level of risk. All have the potential to bring so much joy. Trust me. At 40 with the genetics and risk factors from hell in my corner, I've played with the pregnancy idea for a long time. The faster that clock ticks, reality takes more of a back seat to faith and potential every day. My guess is those parents of eight were there. More power to them for actually having those babies and loving them.

    January 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm |

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