This is a tough one. Doubtless the news of the Baldwin Park, California, births of octuplets is by now so wide spread that most of the people in the country know about it and have formed a variety of opinions about it.
Nadya Suleman is now the mother of fourteen children all under eight years of age. She lives with her parents. She is a single mother. She is 33 years old. The octuplets were conceived through in vitro fertilization. The babies were born at the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Baldwin Park. Kaiser denies playing any part in the conceptions. Ms. Suleman's mother is quoted as saying that her daughter "is obsessed with children and wanted just one more girl". Other reports have quoted the grandmother as saying that she was filing for bankruptcy but decided to pay off her debts. It is reported that the grandfather plans on returning to the Middle East to earn money. Reporters have stated that the mother and presumably the children are MediCal (MediCaid) recipients. The mother was at one time studying to be a psychiatric technician.
Either we can't get enough to this story or the media just keeps hammering us with it whether we want it or not.
We now hear that networks and talk show hosts are battling over who gets the first pictures and the first interviews. The Times of London reported that the family wants two million dollars for interviews and commercial endorsements.
It was also reported that the mother now plans a career as a television childcare expert. She has been showered with book and TV offers and has hired publicist Joann Killen who says of her client that, "She's the most sought-after mom in the world right now."
The medical community is concerned about the ethics of implanting so many embryos especially in a woman who already had a house full of children. Those ethical concerns are appropriate. Oprah and Katie arm wrestling over who gets the first interview isn't.
And we need to stop salivating each time we hear the mention of this family. Why Ms. Suleman chose to try for just one more daughter with eight implanted embryos is beyond my ability to speculate. Now, however, she has fourteen children. The last word of that previous sentence is the key word. We're talking children here. They've already been born. They are here among us. They live.
Let's hope they can live with dignity and respect.