April 14, 2024

Everything you wanted to know about OctoMom

Interview with New York Times Magazine

The New York Times recently spent a day with OctoMom, her 14 children and a British film crew and left impressed by how normal she appears to be. Admittedly, life in the shabby Los Angeles home of Nadya Suleman is chaotic. Although she hates the loss of her family’s privacy, selling it is her only source of income. The tabloids, gossip mags, and trash TV are all fascinated by her story.

The Times portrait depicts her as a weird combination of loving mother and conniving publicist reciting patter from a familiar script. When the Times dropped in, Eyeworks, a British production company was in the middle of an 11-day shoot. Ms Suleman will receive US$250,000 (if the film is successful) and the option to do it again.

She explained to the director of the film how she came to bear 8 children. Her other 6 were also conceived through IVF and she had about 18 eggs left over. The doctor transferred 5 or 6 and no children resulted. Another 6, without result. The last 6 became 8 babies (four are identical twins). “Who would have ever imagined that that would happen?” she says.

She couldn’t afford to keep the remaining embryos on ice and she didn’t want to destroy them. “If you have these frozen embryos that are there, and [the IVF clinic] were writing you letters saying, We are charging you this much, and it’s going up and up and up every month that they are stored — you can either use them or destroy them. You’re like, OK, I have six already. What’s another? And maybe it won’t even work. So, I just decided to take the chance because I didn’t want to destroy the embryos. That was the main focus — not like: ‘Oh, gosh! I really want eight!’ People were thinking, ‘Oh, she wanted so, so many.’ No!”

And, she told the sceptical journalists, she loves them all. “They can be perceived as commodities,” she said. “But they’re not. They are real human beings, real lives. It feels like I have 14 parts of my heart walking around outside of my body, and that’s really profound.” ~ New York Times Magazine, Nov 12

Michael Cook
Creative commons
fetal reduction
reproductive revolution