Suleman Octuplets – Now 13 year old
Written by Roneel Narayan on March 25, 2022
The Suleman octuplets are six male and two female children conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) and subsequently born to Nadya Suleman on January 26, 2009, in Bellflower, California. Residing in Lancaster, California, they are the first known octuplets to survive their infancy. The extremely controversial circumstances of their high-order multiple births have led to debates in the field of assisted reproductive technology and an investigation by the Medical Board of California of the fertility specialist involved in the case.
Suleman’s octuplets were conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) conducted by Dr Michael Kamrava. Suleman claimed to have requested the transfer of six embryos that she had accumulated from previous IVF treatments, despite being informed that the recommended guideline limit for a woman her age was three. She stated she wanted all six transferred, as they were all that remained from previous harvest cycles, and she neither wanted to destroy them nor to continue paying for their frozen storage.
A subsequent Medical Board of California investigation revealed that 29 embryos remained in frozen storage; nevertheless, Suleman underwent a fresh embryo transfer cycle, and Dr Kamrava transferred 12 fresh blastocysts into Suleman at her request. The mother’s health and gestational status were followed from her first trimester.
The delivery (via a scheduled Caesarean section) involved 46 medical personnel and was practised twice beforehand at the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Bellflower, California. Suleman carried the babies to 31 weeks.
Doctors anticipated seven babies, so the eighth came as a surprise. Born over the course of five minutes, all eight babies were immediately reported in stable condition; though two required intubation and a ventilator, and another required extra oxygen.
The babies’ names are Noah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Jonah, Makai, Josiah, and Jeremiah. Suleman stated that she chose biblical names and gave all eight the middle name Angel and that their surname would be Solomon, after their biological father.
The following data from Kaiser Permanente indicate their birth order, birth time, weight, and given name at the time of discharge:
|Baby order||Time of birth||Sex||Birth weight||Name|
|A||10:43 am||Boy||2 lb 11 oz (1.2 kg)||Noah|
|B||10:44 am||Girl||2 lb 12 oz (1.2 kg)||Maliyah|
|C||10:45 am||Boy||3 lb 4 oz (1.5 kg)||Isaiah|
|D||10:45 am||Girl||2 lb 8 oz (1.1 kg)||Nariyah|
|E||10:46 am||Boy||1 lb 8 oz (0.68 kg)||Jonah|
|F||10:47 am||Boy||2 lb 12 oz (1.2 kg)||Makai|
|G||10:47 am||Boy||1 lb 15 oz (0.88 kg)||Josiah|
|H||10:48 am||Boy||2 lb 11 oz (1.2 kg)||Jeremiah|
Baby C (Isaiah) was the largest of the children at 3 lbs, 4 oz, and Baby E (Jonah) was the smallest. Baby H (Jeremiah) had not previously been visible on the ultrasound.
Two days after birth, five of the eight infants received their first tube feeding of donated breast milk. Josiah rejected his first tube feeding and was returned to intravenous feeding, as his stomach was unable to absorb breast milk. At that time, three of the other infants had been fed intravenously since birth and had yet to receive their first tube feeding.
Six days after birth, all eight babies were breathing without assistance and were being fed donated breast milk, as well as intravenous nutritional supplements. A hospital spokesman said the octuplets were expected to remain in the hospital for several more weeks.
One week after birth, the Suleman octuplets became the longest-living octuplets in United States history, as the smallest of the Chukwu octuplets born in Houston in 1998 died seven days after birth. Suleman set the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive.
Ten days after the birth of her octuplets, Suleman was released from the hospital. In her February 5, 2009, interview, Suleman stated that she held each of the octuplets for 45 minutes a day, holding the smallest, Jonah (born at 1 lb, 8 oz), the longest.
The hospital where the octuplets were expected to spend seven to twelve weeks, requested significant reimbursement from Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, for the care of the eight premature babies.
Suleman’s mother stated that a single sperm donor named David Solomon was used to produce the octuplets as well as her daughter’s previous six children. Suleman stated that she dated David once, but then realized that she only wanted him to father her children and not to pursue any relationship with him. The octuplets’ grandfather and others have accused Suleman of making up a fictitious David Solomon, as she had used the name for the father on birth certificates of her other children, but with a different birthdate.
On the February 23, 2009, edition of ABC’s Good Morning America, a man named Denis Beaudoin claimed to be the biological father of Suleman’s children. He said they had dated from 1997 to 1999 and that Suleman asked him if he would donate the sperm. Beaudoin requested a paternity test to verify his claim. Suleman denied that he was the donor.
Suleman’s ex-husband, Marcos Gutierrez, who divorced Suleman in 2006, denied being the biological father.
In 2009 the octuplets’ maternal grandfather, 67-year-old Edward Doud Suleman, identifying himself as a former Iraqi military man, said he would be returning to his native Iraq as a translator and driver, in order to financially support his daughter and her fourteen children.
Their grandmother, 69-year-old Angela Victoria Suleman, a retired teacher, has helped look after the first six children. She indicated that she was overwhelmed looking after them, and was critical of her daughter in her public statements in 2009. For example, she said that her daughter did not contribute toward housing or food costs.