LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fertility doctor whose in vitro treatments gave Nadya Suleman her octuplets tearfully began testimony Wednesday as he defended his methods in the fight to keep his medical license.
Dr. Michael Kamrava appeared shaken after being sworn in for the Medical Board of California's licensing hearing in downtown Los Angeles. He stammered and went silent on the stand before describing his emigration from his native Iran to the United States in 1968, at age 16.
The Beverly Hills doctor detailed his life decades before he helped Suleman have octuplets and six other children through in vitro fertilization.
"My family background is Jewish, and that was one of the reasons I came here," Kamrava said before stopping to wipe away tears.
The state licensing agency alleges that Kamrava was negligent in the treatment of Suleman and two other patients, and is seeking to revoke or suspend his license.
Witness Dr. Suraj Achar earlier testified that the doctor was very remorseful for his treatment of Suleman. Achar visited Kamrava's office once to assess his record-keeping at the request of the fertility doctor's lawyer.
In their only meeting, Kamrava said he regretted the outcome of Suleman's pregnancy and that they discussed his strategies to reduce multiple gestation with future patients, according to Achar.
In hearings this week, an expert witness for the state testified that Suleman's medical records show Kamrava implanted 12 embryos in the pregnancy that gave Suleman octuplets. National guidelines recommend no more than two embryos for a woman her age.
In less than eight years, Kamrava repeatedly performed in vitro fertilization for Suleman, implanting her with 60 fresh embryos that resulted in 14 children.
There are health risks associated with crowding in a mother's uterus that could endanger the mother and result in premature birth or other ailments for the babies.
The octuplets' birth in January 2009 was hailed by many as a miracle until details of Suleman's personal life became public, and concern grew for the safety of her 14 children.
Before the octuplets were born, the unemployed and divorced Suleman and her children lived with her mother, relying on food stamps, school loans, workers compensation and disability payments for her two autistic children to get by.
More recently, Suleman has tried to make a living by selling pictures and gossip items about herself to the tabloid media, but she struggles to pay rent and is facing a $450,000 balloon payment on her La Habra home.
Kamrava is also accused of failing to refer Suleman for a mental health consultation when she repeatedly sought fertility treatment.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.