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Medical board accuses 'octomum' doctor of negligence

Nisha Satkunarajah

Progress Educational Trust

11 January 2010

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[BioNews, London]

A disciplinary complaint has been filed by the California State Medical Board against Dr Micheal Kamrava, the fertility doctor who controversially assisted Nadya Suleman to give birth to octuplets in January 2009. Barbara Johnston, the executive director of the board, filed the complaint, which accuses Dr Kamrava of negligence and violation of professional guidelines. No date has yet been set for the hearing which could potential result in Dr Kamrava's licence being revoked or suspended.

Dr Kamvara is accused of implanting an excessive number of embryos into Ms Suleman, breaching set guidelines. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines call for transferring only one or two embryos to patients younger than age 35 to lower the risk of multiple births. Babies of multiple births are often born prematurely which puts them a higher risk of long-term health problems. Ms Suleman's octuplets were born nine and a half weeks early.

The complaint does not specify how many embryos were transferred in Ms Suleman's pregnancy. However it is reported that Dr Kamrava transferred six embryos into Suleman's uterus in July 2008, and it is believed that two of those embryos split into identical twins, leading to the birth of eight infants.

The office of Attorney General Edmund G Brown says that Dr Kamrava transferred 'a number of blastocyst embryos far in excess of ASRM recommendation and beyond the reasonable judgment of any treating physician.'

Dr Kamvara is also accused of using fresh eggs when frozen eggs were available and failing to refer Ms Suleman to a mental health evaluation after she repeatedly sought fertility treatment. He had treated her for 11 years which resulted in a total of fourteen births through IVF (in vitro fertilisation).

Furthermore, the complaint accuses Dr Kamrava of using too much of a hormone during Ms Suleman's IVF procedure, lax record keeping and 'failure to recognise that [Ms Suleman's] behaviour was outside the norm and that her conduct was placing her offspring at risk for potential harm.' The board added that Dr Kamrava 'failed to exercise appropriate judgment and question whether there would be harm to her living children and any future offspring should she continue to conceive.'

His attorney Peter Osinoff said that fertility patients are not typically screened for mental health problems 'unless there is overt evidence of pathology', adding: 'There was not overt evidence of pathology, that will be our argument.' He further stated his client wanted to continue practising medicine. The ASRM expelled Dr Kamrava in September, but his medical licence was not affected, allowing him to continue treating patients.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 11 January 2010   Date Updated: 11 January 2010
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