Octomom Biography

Nadya Denise Suleman was born October 12, 1975, in Fullerton, California. The only child of a high school teacher and a Realtor, she always hoped to have a large family of her own. “I just longed for connections and attachments with another person that I really lacked, I believe, growing up,” she says.

nadya suleman has difficulty conceiving

Nadya Suleman came one step closer to starting a family of her own in 1996 when she married Marcos Gutierrez. Unfortunately, she and her husband could not conceive children. “I went through about seven years of trying,” she explains. “And through artificial insemination... medication.... all of which was unsuccessful.” Upon closer examination, doctors discovered she had lesions in her fallopian tubes, thereby further complicating her attempts to become pregnant.

nadya suleman begins saving for in vitro fertilization

Nadya Suleman never abandoned her dream of having children. She began saving for in vitro fertilization (IVF) by working around the clock as a psychiatric technician at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, California. “I was able to work double-shifts, constantly working double-shifts, 'cause I was hoarding my money, and I was saving it and nonstop working,” she says. “I was so driven, so determined, I wouldn't give up. There's no way I would have ever allowed any obstacle… to get in my way of my dream.” Creepy.

nadya suleman goes on disability

Nadya Suleman had already saved enough money for several procedures by 1999 when she suffered a severe lower back injury in a riot at the hospital. The ensuing trauma left her unable to work, and she began receiving disability payments. She also fell into a deep depression which, coupled with her inability to conceive children, led to the termination of her marriage in 2000.

nadya suleman has six children in five and a half years

Still determined to become a mother, Nadya Suleman convinced a platonic friend to donate his sperm and, on May 18, 2001, she finally gave birth to a baby boy named Elijah. “I kept praying,” she says. “And it worked.” Suleman underwent another IVF treatment soon after, and 13 months later gave birth to a little girl named Amerah. And she didn’t stop there. Another IVF treatment resulted in the birth of a second boy named Joshua in August of 2003. “At that point, the doctor's like: ‘You're the only one who's come back more than twice,’” she says. “But he knew I wanted a big family, and this [was] my only option.” She then gave birth to Aidan in 2005 and to twins Caleb and Calyssa in 2006, giving her a total of six children in just five and a half years. Still unable to work, Suleman supported her children through her rapidly diminishing savings, student loans and her disability checks.

nadya suleman undergoes another round of in vitro fertilization

Nadya Suleman made another life-changing decision the following year when she opted to use the frozen embryos left over from the batch that produced her twins. “I couldn't live with the fact that if I had never used them, [I’d] be 70 years old and regret the fact that I didn't allow these little embryos to live,” she explains. The first two IVF treatments were unsuccessful, but then, in June of 2008, she was informed that all six embryos had been successfully transferred. “I embraced it fully,” she says.

nadya suleman gives birth to octuplets

Nadya Suleman’s pregnancy progressed well until the fifth month when the extraordinary weight of the fetuses snapped several of her ribs, forcing her to go on bed rest. She was then brought into hospital at 30 weeks for an emergency C-section after doctors expressed concern that one of the babies was not growing. Suleman was still in for one more major surprise when doctors discovered she was carrying eight babies and not seven as previously thought, meaning that two of her six embryos had resulted in twins. “I actually started crying,” she admits. “It was an overwhelming feeling of shock.”

the public reacts in disgust

Public reaction to the birth was at first positive until news started to leak that Nadya Suleman was unmarried, unemployed and already had six other children under the age of eight. Protesters eventually gathered in front of her home and even threatened her life. Despite the negative backlash, Suleman says she does not regret her decision to have more children and believes strongly that she is a responsible mother. “I'm providing for my children,” she says. “I'm providing myself to my children. I'm loving them unconditionally, accepting them unconditionally. I have a plan.”

Nadya Suleman’s babies are now out of the hospital and have since become the longest surviving octuplets in U.S. history.