In January 2009, Nadya Suleman gave birth to eight babies, giving her the nickname “Octomom” and skyrocketing her to infamy. Along for the ride was her fertility doctor, Michael Kamrava, who admitted to implanting her with 12 embryos, producing her octuplets. This was, according to the Associated Press, six times the number normally implanted into a woman her age. Kamrava’s medical license was revoked as of July 1 by the Medical Board of California, accused Kamrava of “repeated negligent acts.”
Other doctors have expressed puzzlement over why Kamrava would have implanted Suleman with such an absurd number of embryos, especially given the fact that “mega-births” like Suleman’s can put the mother at risk for serious complications or even death, and cause a slew of health problems for the babies. But the Board says that this was not an isolated incident.
He implanted seven embryos into a 48-year-old patient, and one of the fetuses died before birth. In another case, Kamrava went ahead with IVF for another woman even after tests detected atypical cells; she was later diagnosed with cancer and had to have her ovaries and uterus removed before chemotherapy.
Kamrava tearfully confessed to implanting Suleman with 12 embryos at a hearing last year, saying that she insisted, and that she would undergo fetal reduction if too many of the babies became viable. He claimed that he “tried all sorts of conservative ways to help this young woman become pregnant and she wanted to have a large family.” Suleman, a single mother at the time, already had six children from other treatments with Kamrava.
The Board disagreed, writing, “A fetal reduction procedure has risks, including the loss of all pregnancy, and to assign even a scintilla of responsibility to a patient who becomes pregnant and then elects not to follow through with a procedure that may jeopardize her (and possibly her family’s) prized objective is troubling and telling.”
It’s clear that Kamrava is not good at placing the woman’s best interests above a stated desire for a large family, and that he has recklessly taken risks with more than one woman. Although he can petition for reinstatement in three years, I have to say, it sounds like he should not be practicing medicine.
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