The American mother of octuplets broke her silence yesterday to reveal she had six embryos implanted, far more than fertility experts say is safe.
Nadya Suleman (33), who is single, unemployed and has a history of clinical depression, already had six children by previous sessions of in vitro fertilisation, but said she wanted a huge family.
Two of the latest embryos apparently divided in the womb to give her eight babies.
“I wanted them all transferred,” Ms Suleman said in an interview with NBC’s Today show. “Those are my children, and that’s what was available and I used them. So, I took a risk. It's a gamble. It always is. It turned out perfectly.”
The interview and health record obtained by the Associated Press lifted the veil of secrecy over Ms Suleman after the births on January 26. She has been harshly criticised for having a fertility procedure and risking multiple births when she already had six children, aged two to seven.
With in vitro fertilisation, doctors frequently implant more than one embryo to improve the odds that one will take. However, the US fertility industry guidelines suggests that no more than two embryos should be implanted for women under 35.
Ms Suleman she had six embryos implanted for each of the previous in vitro procedures that resulted in her other six children.
“All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That’s all I ever wanted in my life,” she said.
Ms Suleman said she struggled for seven years before finally giving birth to her first child.
According to state documents, she told a doctor she had three miscarriages. Another doctor disputed that number, saying she had two ectopic pregnancies, a dangerous condition in which a fertilised egg implants somewhere other than in the uterus.
Ms Suleman said all 14 of her children were born by in vitro fertilisation, from sperm donated by a friend.
Her publicist said she was “feeling great” and looking forward to being reunited with her octuplets, who were born prematurely and are expected to remain in hospital for several more weeks.
More than 300 pages of documents were disclosed to The Associated Press following a records request to the California Division of Workers’ Compensation.
They reveal that Ms Suleman collected more than £100,000 in disability payments between 2002 and 2008 for a work injury, which she said left her in near-constant pain and helped end her marriage.