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  • “Doc Ock” Should Knock Off the Knocking-Up: Using Dr. Michael Kamrava’s Treatment of Nadya Suleman as a Model for Tort Regulation in the Fertility Industry

    On January 26, 2009, thirty-three-year-old Nadya Suleman, mother of six, gave birth to octuplets, a process that took forty-six doctors and nurses at the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Bellflower, California. While originally touted as a medical miracle, it soon became clear that this was no divine intervention. The truth was that Suleman sought out the assistance of fertility specialist Dr. Michael M. Kamrava, and while most fertility specialists would have transferred only two embryos—or three at the most—in a standard in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, Dr. Kamrava implanted six embryos, far exceeding industry custom. Two of these embryos split, resulting in the birth of eight premature babies. As Suleman already had six children of her own through five previous IVF procedures, she was not considered "infertile," and both laypersons and physicians have expressed outrage that any physician would submit to Suleman’s wish to have "just one more girl." Others point to Suleman’s socio-economic background—no job, no income, and on welfare—as a reason to condemn her, especially considering the status of our presently decaying economy. But her background aside, one thing seems clear: Dr. Kamrava violated the fertility industry standard of care with regard to the IVF procedure.