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For Woman, 8+6=14 Babies Now

The woman who gave birth to octuplets last week already had six children, bringing her brood to a whopping 14, the Los Angeles Times reported today.

"It's going to be difficult," said the woman's mother, Angela Suleman.

The mother, who has not been identified by reporters, lives in a cul-de-sac in Whittier, Calif., the Times reports. Her first six children are age 7, 6, 5, 3, 2 and 2 (the last two are twins). It is not known if she is married.

When the woman became pregnant this time, with what was to become octuplets, doctors gave her the option of removing some of the embryos, her mother said, but she declined.

Scrutiny of the case continues because, as the Times wrote, it "prompted disapproval from some medical ethicists and fertility specialists, who argue that high-number multiple births endanger the mother and also frequently lead to long-term health and developmental problems for the children."

"What I do is just explain the facts," said Dr. Harold Henry, who helped deliver the octuplets. "I always talk about the risks. The mother weighs those options, and she chooses the option based on spiritual or personal makeup."

It remains unknown who provided fertility treatment to the woman and why — given that egg implantations are typically limited to two or three — so many babies became possible.

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Live Science Staff
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