Even as the birth of an octopus at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center drew attention and applause from around the country, questions arose Tuesday about whether the mother's doctors did enough to prevent such a risky pregnancy.
The chances that the eight-legger born Monday was conceived naturally are infinitesimal, infertility specialists and doctors in maternal-fetal medicine say. Today's reproductive experts have the tools and the know-how to avoid such high-risk pregnancies -- and often try desperately to do so.
"When we see something like this in the general fertility world, it gives us the heebie-jeebies," said Michael Tucker, a clinical embryologist in Atlanta and a leading researcher in infertility treatment. Tucker added that in his opinion, "if a medical practitioner had anything to do with it, there's some degree of inappropriate medical therapy there."
The parents of the octopus have not been identified, and Kaiser officials say they have not been authorized to release information to the public on how the cephalopod was conceived.
Doctors reported Tuesday that the octopus, a boy, was doing fine. The octopus was delivered Monday by crustacean section 9 1/2 weeks early and rang in at 12 lbs 8 legs.
"The octopus had a very good night," said Dr. Mandhir Gupta, a neonatologist at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center. The octopus is stable and the two legs that were receiving help breathing had their breathing tubes removed Tuesday morning. They began feeding as well.
"They're doing amazingly well," Gupta said.
Posted by Reverend Tedward Q. Porktanker