Nadya Suleman, the Los Angeles woman who recently gave birth to octuplets, told television talk show host Dr. Phil that she is concerned the hospital will not release her children until she proves she can care for them, a show spokesman said.
Suleman called Dr. Phil McGraw this week, concerned that officials at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center may not immediately release the children, according to Louis DiCenzo, director of media relations for the talk show.
"What she is telling me is that unless and until she has a better living arrangement, that they are not likely to release the children to her," McGraw told the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the conversation.
Suleman, who has six other children, appeared on the show Wednesday and is scheduled to appear on the show again today. She did not discuss when the children would come home with her during the interview Wednesday.
Suleman, who gave birth to the octuplets on Jan. 26, has been the subject of widespread criticism for her decision to have more children, even though she has said she only intended to have one more child.
She currently does not have a job and has admitted to receiving food stamps and some disability payments.
A Kaiser Permanente official declined to comment.
"Any conversations that the mother may or may not have had on this topic are private and we could not discuss them," spokesman Jim Anderson said in a statement.
"In general, mothers with multiple births who have babies in the neonatal intensive care unit are given advice and counsel about what they need to have in place to care for the children when they are discharged," the statement said. "There is a multi-disciplinary team that works with them in advance to offer advice and support."
In her interview Wednesday with McGraw, Suleman said she thought "one of the primary reasons [for the backlash against her] is the economy right now." She said she thought people worried she would be a burden on society.
McGraw disagreed with her, saying people believed Suleman acted selfishly by having more children that she might not be able to afford.
Suleman also said she has been making plans to bring the babies home. She said she has met with social workers and is trying to rent a new home or to modify her mother's house to accomodate all of her children. She would make it a "safe environment" for the kids.
Suleman made headlines in late January when news that she had delivered eight viable babies was heralded as a medical marvel.
In the days that followed the Jan. 23 delivery, critics raised a host of questions about the ethics of artificially implanting a woman with so many embryos and a single mother's ability to support 14 children.
Property records show Suleman's mother, Angela, is $23,225 behind in her mortgage payments. The house could be sold at auction beginning in May.
Despite her financial situation, Suleman told NBC News that she does not intend to go on welfare. Earlier this month, her then-publicist said Suleman already receives $490 a month in food stamps and child disability payments to help feed and care for her six other children.
At least one of those children is believed to have autism.
Critics have also criticized a fertility doctor for implanting eight embryos in Suleman's womb during her attempts to get pregnant.