IVF and Multiples
Many couples will never have to realize the pain of infertility. For these lucky couples, the issues associated with IVF and other fertility treatments never have to be considered. One of the biggest and most common risks associated with fertility treatment is the increased chance of multiples. At the fertility center Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine in Omaha, the increased risk of multiples with IVF is discussed with patients during their initial consultations. Twins, triplets, and even higher order multiples are possible with assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as IVF. The simplest and most effective way to decrease a patient’s risk of multiples with IVF is by limiting the number of embryos transferred.
Everyone is familiar with the phrase “two for the price of one.” Fertility treatment, especially in vitro fertilization (IVF), is expensive. It is a costly, time-consuming, and physically and mentally draining process. Many patients undergoing IVF have encountered many hurdles and obstacles throughout the process of trying to conceive. Instead of simply becoming pregnant, the struggle of infertility can sometimes mislead patients into believing that a twin pregnancy is a superior or more desirable outcome.
When a patient considers the financial cost of IVF, it can be easy to understand why she might desire to conceive twins. An IVF cycle can range from $5,000 to $20,000. Many if not all of the costs associated with IVF are out-of-pocket. Most insurance companies do not offer fertility coverage. Even those patients that are fortunate enough to have fertility coverage may still have large copays.
In the past, transferring two, three, and even four embryos at a time was not unheard of. Advances in reproductive medicine have significantly increased the rate of success associated with IVF and other fertility treatments. It is now recommended that only one embryo is transferred in women under the age of 35. Transferring two or more embryos in a patient with a favorable prognosis will not improve her chances of becoming pregnant, but it will increase the patient’s risk of multiples. The success rate for a patient with a favorable prognosis is virtually the same whether one or two embryos are transferred. To minimize the risk of multiples, it is strongly recommended that only one embryo is transferred during IVF.
The Risk of Multiples
There is an increased risk of health complications with twins to both the mother and the babies. While many twins are born healthy and thrive, not all babies will be so fortunate. Many patients are unaware of the increased risks associated with a twin pregnancy. A twin pregnancy is much harder on the body than a singleton pregnancy. The risk of a woman pregnant with twins developing pre-eclampsia is twice that of a woman pregnant with only one baby. Pre-eclampsia is only one of the many complications that poses danger to the health of the mother and baby. Almost 60 percent of twins are born prematurely. Babies that are born prematurely have an increased risk of experiencing major health problems. More than half of twins are born weighing less than five-and-a-half pounds. Low birth weight poses both short-term and long-term health complications for the baby. Many women pregnant with twins will face bedrest and hospitalization. Many twins are also born via cesarean section.
Contact Our Fertility Clinic
To learn more about IVF and multiples, please contact Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, PC, today.