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Octuplets fertility doctor at center of another multi-pregnancy

February 12, 2009 |  1:22 pm

Kamrava_2  The Beverly Hills doctor who helped Nadya Suleman conceive octuplets also provided fertility treatment to a 49-year-old woman who is pregnant with quadruplets and is hospitalized at County-USC Medical Center.

Several sources told The Times that Dr.  Michael Kamrava transferred at least seven embryos made from younger donor eggs.

Fertility experts said that transferring that many embryos raises the odds of a multiple birth, which threatens the health of the mother and babies.

The California Medical Board is already investigating the octuplets case. In fertility medicine, any pregnancy greater than twins is considered a failure because of the danger it poses to the mother and the babies.

Quadruplet births are rare, with an average of 14 sets born in California each year, according to state records.

“I do think it is concerning, and dangerous, especially to the mother," said one doctor with knowledge of the case. "She is close to 50. When women get to be that age, our fear is the cardiovascular complications, such as stroke or heart attack. That’s how serious this is.”

The woman in the latest case arrived recently at Good Samaritan Hospital for treatment but was transferred last week to County-USC because she lacks insurance, the sources said. Doctors placed her on bed rest until the birth of the babies, which, they added, could be two or three months from now.

Reached by telephone, the woman, who is about five months pregnant, denied that Kamrava was her doctor. She said her doctors urged her not to talk to the media because she is already dealing with a high-risk pregnancy and doesn't need more stress.

"Please respect my privacy," she said.

(The Times has confirmed the information through several independent sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named.)

The woman has three grown children from a previous marriage but wanted another child with her second husband, who is in his early 30s and doesn’t have any children. She works as an apartment manager; her husband is a contractor.

Kamrava could not be reached for comment and has declined previous interview requests. A woman who answered the phone at his West Coast IVF Clinic said, “If [a] mother wants to bring four kids, so what?”

Doctors at USC and Good Samaritan Hospital also declined comment about the quadruplet pregnancy, citing patient confidentiality.

The California Medical Board has said it is looking into the Suleman case to determine whether a doctor may have violated any standards of care.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine said it is also examining the doctor's practice. Although it appears Kamrava violated professional standards, there are no laws that limit the number of embryos that can be transferred in a fertility procedure.

Suleman said in an interview with NBC that her doctor transferred six embryos. She gave birth on Jan. 26, and although the births were initially lauded as a medical miracle, public opinion quickly turned when it was discovered that Suleman had six other children, was a single mom and relying on some public assistance, including food stamps and Social Security benefits. In the only other octuplet birth in U.S. history, only seven of the babies survived past one week.

-- Alan Zarembo, Jessica Garrison and Kimi Yoshino

Photo: KTLA

Previously on L.A. Now

Octuplets mother seeking donations on website

Octuplets mother: I am not on welfare

Octuplets could be costly for taxpayers

Octuplets' mother receives public assistance [UPDATED]

Octuplets' mom says society is judging her unfairly