Doctor Says He Learned about Octuplets after Birth

October 21, 2010 - 5:17 PM

Dr. Michael Kamrava

Dr. Michael Kamrava, the fertility doctor who treated octuplets mother Nadya Suleman, attends a licensing hearing in Los Angeles to face allegations that he implanted her with too many embryos, on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(AP) - The fertility doctor for "Octomom" Nadya Suleman testified Thursday that she disappeared after he implanted her with 12 embryos, and he only learned that she was having octuplets after they were born.

Suleman was adamant about using all 12 embryos during her last appointment in July 2009, Dr. Michael Kamrava said at his state medical licensing hearing in Los Angeles. Kamrava said he suggested only implanting four embryos but obeyed her wishes.

"She just wouldn't accept doing anything else with those embryos. She did not want them frozen, she did not want them transferred to another patient in the future," the doctor said.

Kamrava implanted a dozen embryos _ six times the norm for a woman her age _ and didn't hear from Suleman again until after she delivered octuplets in January 2009, according to his testimony.

As months passed from their last meeting, "I was all along apprehensive" because "I couldn't get in touch with her. Every time we called, just an answering machine, leave a message. We couldn't get any calls back," Kamrava said.

Kamrava said that he implanted the 12 embryos after Suleman consented to fetal reduction, if necessary.

In fetal reduction, a fetus or fetuses are injected with a drug to terminate their growth. That procedure also poses dangers, including a possible loss of the entire pregnancy.

Crowding in a mother's uterus could endanger the mother and result in premature birth, cerebral palsy, developmental delays or other health problems for the babies.

Kamrava said he advised Suleman in their last meeting of the risks associated with multiple births, as he had many times before. All 14 of Suleman's children were conceived through Kamrava's in vitro treatments.

The octuplets _ whose birth weights ranged from 1 pound, 8 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces _ spent their first weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center. Media swarmed the facility for a glimpse of her babies, which were hailed as a medical miracle and are now the world's longest-surviving set of octuplets.

Kamrava said Suleman called him from the hospital, saying reporters were outside her door and asked for advice on what to tell media.

"Well, I was shocked to hear that news in first place," Kamrava said. He said he told her to tell the truth.

Suleman has said Kamrava implanted her with six embryos for each of her six pregnancies and two of them split when she had octuplets.

The state licensing agency alleges that Kamrava was negligent in the treatment of Suleman and two other patients, and is seeking to revoke or suspend his license.