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Complaint labels fertility doctor negligent

Fertility doctor who treated 'Octomom' is accused of 'gross negligence' by the California Medical Board.

The fertility doctor who treated the US woman who gave birth to octuplets last year has been accused of "gross negligence", a disciplinary complaint filed by the California Medical Board has shown. The executive director of the board, Barbara Johnston, said in the complaint that Dr Michael Kamrava had acted "beyond reasonable judgement" by helping Nadya Suleman conceive octuplets. Ms Suleman, 34, who already had six children, became a tabloid fixation last January when she successfully gave birth to octuplets in Los Angeles, and was dubbed "Octomom".

The case triggered widespread condemnation, with experts slamming Dr Kamrava's West Coast IVF Clinic in Beverly Hills, which carried out the treatment. Under guidelines issued by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), a woman of Ms Suleman's age should have no more than two embryos implanted. Experts say multiple-birth babies are often born prematurely - Ms Suleman's octuplets were born nine and a half weeks early - which puts them at significantly greater risk of long-term health problems.

In addition to questioning Dr Kamrava's treatment methods, Ms Johnston's complaint also faults the doctor for not referring Ms Suleman to a mental health professional after she repeatedly sought fertility treatment. The complaint also noted that Dr Kamrava implanted Ms Suleman with a number of embryos "far in excess of the (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) recommendation and beyond the reasonable judgment of any treating physician".

ASRM expelled Dr Kamrava in September, but his medical licence was not affected, allowing him to continue treating patients. A hearing date has not yet been set for the Medical Board complaint, which could see Dr Kamrava's licence revoked or suspended. *AFP