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Octuplet Fertility Doctor Under Investigation

Octuplet Fertility Doctor Under Investigation

This image provided by NBC shows Nadya Suleman, left, speaking with Ann Curry in New York on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009.

Shaya Tayefe Mohajer / AP

February 08, 2009

LOS ANGELES – The spotlight on the mother of octuplets is turning to the fertility doctor who helped her give birth not once but 14 times by implanting Nadya Suleman with fertilized embryos.

The Medical Board of California investigating the doctor — whom it did not name — to see if there was a “violation of the standard of care,” board spokeswoman Candis Cohen said Friday.

She did not elaborate.

Suleman, 33, of Whittier, already had six children when she gave birth Jan. 26 to octuplets. The births to an unemployed, divorced single mother prompted angry questions about how she plans to provide for her children.

But the backlash seems to have extended as well to Suleman’s doctor.

In a portion of an NBC interview, broadcast Friday, Suleman said she had six embryos implanted for each of her in vitro pregnancies, using the same sperm donor and fertility specialist.

In the case of the octuplets, the procedure resulted in six boys and two girls, including two sets of twins.

“The revelation about one center treating her makes the treatment even harder to understand,” said Arthur Caplan, bioethics chairman at the University of Pennsylvania. “They went ahead when she had six kids, knowing that she was a single mom … and put embryos into her anyway.”

In the United States, there is no law dictating the number of embryos that can be placed in a mother’s womb. Multiple embroys can be implanted to improve the odds that one will take.

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