Nadya Suleman is a very interesting case. The woman appeared, on the outside, to be your average woman. Then, her world turned upside down. She became an instant celebrity, one of the most interesting people in the world. Why is this? She gained worldwide attention because she was Octomom, the first person of the new century to give birth to octuplets, which means eight babies. Not only that, but all eight of them continued to live well past the time the last octuplets survived, which was back in 1998 with the Chukwu octuplets. Nadya was all over the television news and gossip channels. She was being talked about on all the morning radio shows. She had become an instant celebrity, after being just an average, normal woman who had a strange event happen by chance. Or at least that’s how it seemed.
After digging deeper, it was found that she had used assisted reproductive technology to achieve this feat, which instantly caused controversy. An investigation took place, led by the Medical Board of California, on the doctors and specialists Nadya saw during her pregnancy. The general public, after first being awestruck by this incredible event, started to realize what had really happened, and Nadya became a public punching bag. It turned out that she had already had six other kids, and was unemployed. She got special treatment to have more kids than the usual person possibly could, yet she couldn’t even afford the costs it took to raise her own six kids, let alone eight new ones. At first, she publicly stated that she did not use public assistance to achieve this crazy feat, but a few years later during an exclusive NBC Today show interview, she admitted that she did use public assistance. She created her eight new kids and her six others with in vitro fertilization, also known as IVF.
In vitro fertilization is known to be when a woman impregnates herself, without engaging in sexual intercourse. This is done by having sperm donated from sperm donors fertilize an egg outside of the body. The woman has an egg removed from her body, and in a laboratory, the sperm fertilizes the egg. The newly fertilized egg, called a zygote (you didn’t forget that from biology class, did you?) continues to grow inside a Petri dish for a few days until it is ready to be implanted into the woman’s uterus, and a successful pregnancy has begun. The zygote can also be implanted into a woman who didn’t originally supply the egg, as this is how infertile woman can get kids.
However, occasionally, if the woman loses most of her fertilized eggs through miscarriages often, the doctors performing this procedure will take multiple eggs out of the woman and fertilize them, to increase the chances that one of them survives. In extreme cases, all of them may survive, resulting in an unnatural amount of babies birthed. This is what happened with Nadya Suleman, or Octomom.
You may be wondering why the public got mad, or why a whole investigation was launched. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at Octomom’s past.
Way back in 1996, which was before the Chukwu octuplets were conceived, Nadya Suleman was married to a man who went by the name of Marco Gutierrez. Their relationship was rocky, for a lack of better words, and they separated unofficially in 2000. It took six more years for her husband to officially file for divorce, which he did, and it was finalized in 2006. The reason behind the separation and divorce was different than one might think. During an exclusive interview with Inside Edition, Suleman’s former husband Gutierrez said that the reason that they were having trouble in their relationship and the reason that they were trying to separate was due to problems while attempting to have kids. Suleman brought up the idea of using in vitro fertilization, but Gutierrez was against the whole idea of “test tube babies” and didn’t want to go that route. This is what caused the split, as Suleman wanted kids but her husband didn’t want to be part of the unnatural procedure. He says that he isn’t the father of any of Suleman’s kids, but he wishes the woman known as Octomom good luck with her future endeavors.
So Suleman, now separated and needing a job, started to receive in vitro fertilization treatments so that she could finally have kids of her own. This was overseen by Dr. Michael Kamrava, who was an established and respected doctor at the time, but later was asked to leave the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Suleman’s first attempt at in vitro fertilization was successful, as she gave birth to her very first child, a boy named Elijah. She then had a daughter a year later in 2002, named Amerah. She wanted more kids, and went on to continue the treatments, and ended up with fraternal twins and two more kids, totaling six by the end of it. While six kids for most families, let alone single mothers, seems like a lot, if not too much, Suleman didn’t stop there. She wanted more, and this greed and lust for children is what caused a – at first – miraculous event, but later a scary, dangerous, and selfishly driven event.
It was 2008. Suleman said that she had six eggs left over from her last treatments of in vitro fertilization. During the process, she wanted all six of these implanted into her at once, instead of the usually recommended one or two. However, after some research by the California Medical Board during their investigation, the found out that Dr. Kamrava had injected not only six but twelve embryos in total. This was an unheard of, unhealthy number. The reasoning behind this, according to Suleman herself, was that she didn’t want any of her frozen embryos to perish, as they were reaching their expiration date. So she demanded that Dr. Kamrava transfer them all at once into her, which meant that there was an incredibly high chance of her having an unnatural, unhealthy number of kids born at once. After this was found out, Dr. Kamrava had his medical license taken away, as he broke many rules and his ethical values were raised into question. Many people were disgusted at his actions. The results from this could have been much worse than they were. What if all twelve of the embryos survived and were born? Carrying twelve babies at once would surely cause some physical damage, and the risk of death would have been outrageously high during birth. The babies born would have been severely underweight and they would have had a very low chance of surviving.
Suleman gave birth to eight kids, known as octuplets, and thus the name “Octomom” was born. The news of the event created a large buzz in the media, and people all over the world were interested. However, everything soon turned negative, with some people going as far to send Suleman death threats. While that was dumb (and ironic, since you are mad at her for doing something that may have caused many deaths, yet you are threatening to cause one yourself; that’s like getting mad at someone for stepping on a spider, and then stepping on a spider yourself the next day), most of the negative responses were well deserved. Suleman basically decided that she wanted to have a large number of kids at once when she already had six. To top that off, she was unemployed and had lots of financial problems. This begged the question, “How did she afford the incredibly expensive in vitro fertilization treatments?”
She says that she is able to support all fourteen of her children, but that didn’t stop protests from occurring outside of her home. Because Suleman had so many children, and because she had no job or source of income, she was eligible for tax awards, which citizens of the city were paying. This caused an outrage, as she was taking their money, indirectly. Suleman said that she planned on going back to school to complete her degree, and then get a job to support her children further. It was also revealed that she was receiving payment from the government and taxpayers for a back injury that she suffered from an angry mob from a decade ago. She used this to support herself, instead of going out and getting a job, and she kept on having more and more kids, and this outraged the community.
Her octuplets stayed in the hospital well after they had been born, to the point where Suleman even wondered if she was on the verge of losing custody of them. She went on to buy a new house, which was a curious and an interesting move, considering that she had little money and was still unemployed. Her income from the back injury settlement had also stopped during 2008, and the purchase of the house took place in 2009. Eventually, she got to go the hospital and retrieve her kids. However, there were riots protesting this, even going as far as throwing a baby car seat at her vehicle when she was returning home with her seventh octuplets. The seat broke through the back window of her car and shattered the glass. It was a violent, rough moment in the timeline of Octomom’s life.
At the time, Suleman said that she didn’t get much sleep at night, maybe two to three hours at most. Her past actions were haunting her, and she knew she made a mistake. The constant riots, death threats, protests, and global disapproval was taking a toll on her emotionally, and with great effect. She just wanted kids to spend time with. She just wanted to be a mother, after years of trying, she finally found a way to make this dream a reality, but she took advantage of it. She became obsessive, and couldn’t get enough. She didn’t know where the line was drawn; she didn’t even know there was a line. By the time she had crossed it, it was way too late.
So, what in the world happened to Nadya Suleman, or Octomom, if you prefer to call her that? It seems like news on her story has faded, so what is she up to know? How is she making money, how healthy are the kids, how is she emotionally, and does she regret her past decisions?
After her appearances all over television, from the Oprah Winfrey Show to her own reality television show, the interest and buzz in Octomom started to die down a bit, and Suleman was now a normal person. She felt much better out of the spotlight; however, her plans to go back to school and then get a job to support her kids did not go as planned. It was reported in 2012 that she was back on welfare, and shortly after Suleman filed for bankruptcy. She said that she had over a million dollars in debts. Her house was put up for sale, and things got even murkier. She was accused of neglecting her children by spending a lot of her money on spas, salons, and other services. She was blowing all her money on temporary things when what she should have been doing was buying permanent things like security for children. The claim was later dropped by social workers when they saw that her children were in an okay setting and the children were allowed to stay at home with Nadya.
It turned out that the emotional problems Nadya was dealing with were still around and perhaps more serious than ever, as she checked herself into rehab. She went to the Chapman House Treatment Center, located in Los Angeles, California, for over 25 days to help her deal with stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep. She also started to take Xanax after it was prescribed to her by her doctor.
In early 2014, it was claimed that Suleman failed to pay back over $30,000 in welfare earnings. She had been receiving welfare for being unemployed, yet she was receiving countless offers to be on television and she was accepting them. She kept these a secret from the government so that she could continue to receive welfare, which was a selfish thing to do, as taxpayers were paying for her to support herself when others needed it way more. She got off easy, however, and only had to pay a small fine and do 200 hours of community service, along with two years of probation. Her lawyer says that she has already paid back her debts from welfare, and she was back on her feet.
In order to support her children, Nadya Suleman decided that she had to find a way to make some kind of income, and so she turned to pornography. At first, her jump into entertainment media was a simple, innocent one, as she was recording a single with artists Adam Barta and appeared in his music video. She then appeared in an adult film, Octomom Home Alone, where she sits at home pleasuring herself with all kinds of objects. Quite the jump, if you ask me. It paid the bills, however, but brought her back into the national spotlight. Many people enjoyed the film, as it won numerous awards. Of those awards, the most recognizable is the AVN Award for the Best Celebrity Sex Tape. Nadya continued this line of work by becoming an entertainer in men’s dancing clubs and releasing a new album. The album, at first, stirred up a controversy. The album’s artwork shows her sitting on a bed, holding her breasts while being surrounded by crucifixes. She later went on to say that there was no intention of making a point, or doing anything immoral, as she was simply inspired by some of Madonna’s work. The last she was seen doing publicly was engaging in an internet debate site called Deeyoon.com, where she was paid to debate parenting with Michael Lohan and the site’s users.
At first, it seemed like Nadya Suleman was just a mom who had an incredibly improbable event happen to her. However, this was not the case, as she gave birth to octuplets intentionally, as she and her doctor performed in vitro fertilization to transfer twelve fertilized embryos into her. This caused public outrage, and she has been pegged “Octomom” ever since. Today, Octomom is more under the radar, and perhaps forgotten. That’s probably best for her mental health, and her family.