Octomom's Infertility Doctor To Lose Medical License

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The California Medical Board has ruled to revoke the medical license of Dr. Michael Kamrava who famously implanted 12 embryos into the “Octomom” during an in vitro fertiliation (IVF) procedure back in 2008.

The board's report released on Wednesday concluded that Kamrava was responsible for “repeated negligent acts” in which revoking his license is “necessary to protect the public.”

Nadya Suleman, known in the media as the “Octomom”, first became a patient of Kamrava's back in 1997 when she was 21 years old. At the time she was having difficulty becoming pregnant and expressed her desire to have a “large” family. Over the next 11 years Suleman underwent multiple infertility procedures. By 2008 Suleman had given birth to 6 children and yet decided to undergo another round of IVF. This time, according to the medical board documents, she demanded that Kamrava implant all 12 embryos into her uterus. In 2009 Suleman gave birth to 8 premature infants, making her a single-mother of 14 children.

In a normal reproductive cycle, a woman' body naturally matures 1 egg to be fertilized by sperm. However, in an IVF procedure, a woman is given medications in order to mature multiple eggs. These eggs are then removed from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a lab setting which creates embryos. In a typical procedure, 1 to 2 of the healthiest embryos are then selected to be implanted into the mother for pregnancy.

According to professional guidelines set forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine only 1-2 embryos should be transferred to a women under the age of 35. Implanting more than one embryo increases the chances of a multiple pregnancy – placing both the mother and fetuses at great medical risk.

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Leading New York IVF and fertility research experts commented about this case acknowledging that fertility treatments, in general, do run the risk of producing multiple fetuses. However, they point out that this type of risk is something that responsible physicians in the field try to reduce.

“Practically all fertility treatments significantly increase the risk of multiple births,” reads the statement. “The more multiples, the earlier the pregnancy will be delivered, the higher the risk of prematurity for offspring. With prematurity come significant medical costs and risk for life-long handicaps. Consequently, the world-wide community of fertility specialists defined the reduction of high-order multiple pregnancies many years ago as a principal goal of the specialty.”

In the case of Kamrava, he implanted a total of 12 embryos, 4 times the acceptable limit for a woman of Suleman's age. This, the medical board reports was an “extreme” departure from standard practice of care. Furthermore, two more cases involving women who were treated inappropriately by Kamrava were cited as further evidence against the fertility doctor.

In his defense, Kamrava made a tearful apology and said that in hindsight he understands that his actions were wrong. However, despite a judge's recommendation that he receive 5 years probation, the board “adamantly” felt that this decision to go ahead with revoking Kamrava's license was appropriate.

Resource:
New York IVF "Special UPDATE on the Ethics of Recent CA Octuplets"; Center for Human Reproduction.
California Medical Board Report

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