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Octuplets: happiness times eight, or selfishness?

abortionBellflowerethicsfertility drugsoctupletspopulation control

Octuplets Was this a blessed event multiplied by eight, or stunt medicine?

The mother who delivered octuplets -- eight apparently healthy infants -- in Bellflower on Monday, with the assistance of more than 40 medical staff in four delivery rooms, is facing a future of about 400 diaper changes a week, virtually round-the-clock breastfeeding and unsolicited child-rearing advice from strangers. One pointed critique comes today from a father of twins born prematurely, who weighs in with an Op-Ed.

But there are larger questions being asked about this birth. At the same time everyone's glad the babies and the mother are fine, the blogosphere, including reader blogs here at The Times, is hopping with questions....

How much did this feat cost, and who's paying? Is there any insurance that will cover the births and medical costs of rearing eight children? We don't know whether the mother was on fertility drugs -- the hospital isn't talking -- but is it really responsible to allow seven simultaneous pregnancies to proceed (doctors didn't realize there was an eighth fetus until the day of delivery), especially knowing all the health complications facing multiple-birth babies of four and above?

Should medical ethics consider requiring fertility-treatment patients to agree to limit the number of babies to, say, four?

With limited global resources and evidently unlimited global population growth, people are questioning whether this was a responsible decision by the parents and the doctors.

Some of the blog comments that were dismayed at the births thought that having eight infants at once is an act of selfishness -- toward the babies, and the difficult futures they could face, and toward the rest of us, the country and the planet.

Down the road, as population pressures on resources become more pronounced even here, could we be looking at a future tax structure that gives a smaller tax credit for every child after, say, two, as a disincentive to have more children than a couple's own ''replacement'' numbers?  That might be the ultimate carbon tax.

Photo: Business Wire

 

Comments () | Archives (12)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Gina

Be careful, L.A. Times. You're dangerously close to communist China's practice of telling people how many children they're allowed to have.

FrankNStein

It's just me. I must be sick. I can't cope.

The look of these beaming "Doctors" announcing the "joyous miracle" or whatever, of this ultimate in child-abuse makes me vomit.

The press coverage and knee-jerk reaction of the public, "oh look! lots of babies! How nice!", makes me vomit.

2012? not soon enough for THIS species..........

Sara

One of my best friends has quadruplets, and I'm always amazed how people forget each and every child is an individual human being, and a child greatly wanted by the parents, even if it is a 'multiple.'

How DARE you sit around and pontificate about whether or not someone else's babies DESERVE TO LIVE?!

If you're worried about overpopulation, dedicate some time in your life to working to providing birth control to everyone who wants it. But don't sit around questioning whether babies that are already born AND wanted should not have been brought into existence. I'm always astonished when people have these discussions-- it's as if you don't understand that each and every one of those babies is a unique and precious human being with as much right to be on this earth as YOU have.

milo

"people are questioning whether this was a responsible decision by the parents and the doctors." If the woman refuses to undergo a reduction, the doctors can't force her to do it. I'm sure the doctors strongly recommended a reduction and would have done it if it was their choice. But this decision was completely up to the mother, and it's wrong to blame doctors for a decision they had no control over.

Fulvia

The world population reaching 7 billion, this woman give birth in one shot to 8 babies plus 6, are 14 just from one woman.
She is completely inconsiderable of the actual society and the story is grotesque.
Osama Bin Laden has 25 kids but from various women, maybe she wont to beat his record, with 5 more, maybe again in one shot and she will win.

Angela

I have no problem with the woman having 8 babies (I also understand she lives at home with her parents and already had a 7, 6, 4, 5, and 2 year old twins) This will give her 14 children. My only problem is who will be supporting the children ? Will it be her family or the U.S. taxpayers? My husband and I have 4 daughters and we work very hard to give them what they need and some things that they want. I get tired of people having babies and them deciding how to take care for them.

Brian

I could not care less about how many children people have, but my tax dollars better not be supporting them. Even if they support themselves it still raises issues of my property tax supporting education (in Arkansas). I am not married and have no children so I believe I should support 1/pop. of the school tax. If married with one child then you should be liable for 3/pop. or school tax.

Austinite

As a self-employed individual who pays for her own health insurance and has just had two premium increases in 4 months, I am furious about this. Unless this family is wealthier than Middle East oil moguls and thus self-insured, all the rest of us who pay for health insurance are paying for the cost of the prenatal care, delivery, 2 months of hospitalization, and the life-time care for these babies. What happens after they hit the lifetime cap on their health insurance? Who picks up the tab? The taxpayers? The hospitals who will be required to provide free care to them? I don't care how rich you are, a divorced woman with 14 children - 8 probably with no legal father (I'm guessing she went to a sperm bank and we just don't know it) is going to be a drain on the taxpayers either way you slice it. And all this because she wanted to have another girl? How about adopting or being a foster parent?

Malby

In the doctors' defense, they were not responsible for this abomination. The mother got pregnant elsewhere, and presented herself at Kaiser afterwards. So the doctors are "happy" because they did a magnificent job in saving these kids and the mother's life, in the face of huge risk. She could have been insured as a single person by Kaiser, in which case all the costs will be shifted onto Kaiser, or the Medicaid program. (Seems likely here previous six kids are all on SCHIP already, given the mother's "professional student/disabled" status, and her parents' serious financial problems.
I hope her insurance covers treatment for mental illness, because it is looking more and more like this woman has a serious mental problem.

DCB

The women should never have been faced with the reduction dilemma. The rogue doctor went against all guidelines and implanted her with all those embryos. Had the women been rational, she could have implanted 1 - 2 as the guidelines suggest. It was selfishness on the part of the mother, not to want to provide the care and attention the children need - and to expect her parents to raise her children. Had she had them more spaced out, it might have been doable.

Tony

I really don't believe my eyes, people complaining about a woman who did not want to be lonely in her life. I seen more people put more time complaining about saving 8 children, then complaining about a baby killer. Why don't you leave this mother alone and put your efforts up to stop a tot mom (who killed her little girl) from things like: Getting spoiled in prison and money sent to her every second. Know this mother looks like she will love her kids if everyone will leave her alone. Go after the doctors who allowed this to happen, they are the experts in that area and should have known better. It seams like no-one knew who this person was until she had the eight babies. The next person who says the next negative thing to this mother will be throwing the first stone. Step up everyone in America, and donate only $1.00 to this person and then you won't have to complain about how much it will cost to raise 14 kids, because she will be set for life plus.

tom

I really don't understand why people are supporting this woman. Those of you who are supporting this woman is are just as insane as she is. Don't get me wrong i'm not against someone having 2 or more kids, but 14, single mom, no job, and no financial support from mom and dad. I'm no rocket scientist, but do the math this makes no sense at all this is a clear and utter manipulation of the system. There is definite grounds for criminal negligence on the part of her and the doctor's who were involved. It's people like her is why this country is in the situation that it is in right now. I work hard for my money and for the government to take out 30% or more of my pay to go toward this is woman's huge hospital bill and state help to raise her kid's is an OUTRAGE. "WHY SHOULD HARD WORKING TAX PAYERS FOOT THE BILL FOR THIS ONE TOO!!"


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