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Friends, family defend octuplet mom

Feb. 2, 2009 at 6:10 PM

BELLFLOWER, Calif., Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Friends and relatives of a California mother-of-six who gave birth to octuplets last week are defending her from criticism by ethicists.

Jessica Zepeda, a neighbor and friend of mother-of-14 Nadya Suleman, described her as "an awesome parent" and a "wonderful mother," ABC News reported Monday.

Some medical ethicists and members of the international media questioned the lack of a father's presence in the lives of the children. All 14 were conceived through in vitro fertilization and court records suggest the mother lacks significant means for the unusually high number of offspring.

"Given that she has six young children, it seems to be a perfectly reasonable thing for a fertility specialist to refer her to a psychiatrist for some heavy duty counseling to see what her situation is, to see if she really does want or could handle another child," said George Annas, a bioethics professor at Boston University School of Public Health.

Suleman's father, Ed Suleman, said his daughter had only intended to have one child when she became pregnant with the octuplets.

"She did not seek to have more children. She thought she was gonna have one more child, and it did not happen," Ed Suleman said.

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