The Suleman Octuplets' Grandpa
Days after the birth, Nadya agreed to an interview with NBC News correspondent Ann Curry. "I personally do not believe I'm irresponsible. Everything I do revolves around my children. That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family," Nadya said. "And I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that I really lacked, I believe, growing up. And I personally believe that need to fill something inside that's not there, the void, the feeling of emptiness. I think everyone has that."
Since that interview, people around the world cannot stop talking about this amazing story...but do they really have all the facts?
Nadya's father, Ed Doud, is speaking out for the first time about his daughter and 14 grandchildren.
Oprah says many news outlets—including The Oprah Winfrey Show—competed to get the first interview with Nadya, and no one forced her to do it. "Somebody on her team, or she, made the final decision that that interview would go to NBC's Ann Curry, who I think did a really terrific job of being sympathetic and open to her," she says. "And so are you saying that she did that now under duress?"
To most people, Ed says, Nadya may have appeared to be in control—but not to him. "I know my daughter," he says. "When she's under tremendous physical pain, it's very hard to tell."
Oprah: Do you think the doctor was irresponsible?
Ed: Absolutely irresponsible. Exactly.
Oprah: Do you think your daughter was irresponsible?
Ed: Irresponsible, too. Yes, ma'am.
Oprah: Do you think your daughter is mentally stable?
Ed: That's a very good question.
Photo: X-17 Online
And Ed, who lives overseas for work, says he used most of his savings since returning to the United States and now has just $100 left. "I have either one week, maybe two weeks maximum. Then I have to go back," he says. "Do I really want to be 10,000 miles away from my grandchildren who I love so much? But I have to."
When Nadya decided she wanted to get pregnant the first time, she was not married, Ed says, so she turned to a friend to be her sperm donor. After that child was born, she decided to have another baby, then a third child and a fourth.
"It looks like someone sitting at a bar and saying, 'I'm going to have a drink.' And, well, after that, 'Well, one more.' And then, 'One more,'" Ed says. "And that's where I can't stop her, even though I talked to her."
Ed says he told the doctor how much stress Nadya's pregnancies were causing. "Don't you understand that enough is enough?" he says he told the doctor. "Don't you see that you are putting so much burden on her mom and on me? Don't you understand that what you're doing is hurting the family?"
The doctor, Ed says, claimed he didn't know anything about Nadya's family situation. "After that, I thought, 'That's it. Over,'" Ed says.
For additional help, Nadya has set up a website to accept money donations. Ed says asking for help the way Nadya has was something he was never able to do. "I never in my life—and that was something maybe negative about me—I never asked for help."
Although Ed says he never felt he could ask for a hand, he doesn't want his daughter to suffer for doing so. "Do not punish my daughter for what she had done, and do not punish the babies, because they were given by God," he says.
Beyond the several million dollars Dr. Oz says it will take to get the octuplets ready to leave the hospital, he has a message for Ed. "It's going to cost about a quarter million dollars per kid to get them to age 18, so you better start working. I hope you're in good health."
Money aside, Dr. Oz addresses a more important issue. "I'd like to shift gears a tiny bit because we've been judging Nadya a lot and someone has to speak out for the kids. Because, ultimately, this is a form of child cruelty, I think, and we have a very cavalier and careless attitude to conceiving children in this country. Not just Nadya—this happens all over the place."
Although all eight of Nadya's babies were born healthy, Dr. Oz says the long-term effects on the children are yet to be seen. "There is a relatively small chance that all eight of those kids will grow up to be normal adults," he says. "There's going to be a chance of cerebral palsy, developmental delays, emotionally, mentally, vision problems, hearing problems."
Virviane, another Skyper, says she sympathizes with Nadya's decisions. "My husband and I have been trying to conceive for about two years now and I can understand the pain and the burden that comes along with not being able to conceive naturally. And I can understand her desire to want to have children and not to, I guess, throw away God's blessing," she says. "I just feel that she's being villified. It's unfair and it's way too harsh. We just need to move on and help the kids."
- Women under the age of 35 should have no more than two embryos implanted.
- Women ages 35 to 37 should have no more than three embryos implanted.
- Women ages 38 to 40 should have no more than four embryos implanted.
- Women age 40 and over should have no more than five embryos implanted.
With the future of his grandchildren uncertain, Ed is hoping for the best. "Stay healthy and have my grandchildren, all of them to be healthy and the mother to finish her schooling and start working and we all could support this family," he says.
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