The physical health of mothers and babies, the psychosocial impact on families, and short and long-term health care costs are all critical factors in efforts to reduce multiple gestations and increase singleton pregnancies and births associated with IVF.
Multiples have higher rates of premature births and other health challenges including low birth weight, growth, respiratory and digestive problems. For women carrying a multiple gestation pregnancy, there are a number of potential health risks including the development of gestational diabetes, increased risk of miscarriage, and preeclampsia, a condition that can result in serious or even fatal complications.
“The optimal outcome of an IVF cycle is the singleton live birth of a healthy baby,” explains Dr. Samuel Pang, Medical Director at RSC New England. Dr Pang was an investigator in a clinical study to determine if increased psychosocial risks are associated with the birth of twins, triplets or more as a result of assisted reproduction. The report of this study, co-authored by Dr. Pang and published in a 2005 edition of the professional journal Fertility and Sterility, state that, “For each additional multiple birth child, the odds of having difficulty meeting basic material needs more than tripled. The odds of a lower quality of life and increased social stigma more than doubled. In 2004, the authors write, “Approximately 4% of all preterm births in the united States resulted from assisted reproductive technologies. [The] associated costs reached $1 billion.” The Committee further explains that, “Compared with singleton pregnancy, the known costs associated with twin pregnancy and [any resulting abnormal condition] are increased fourfold, and for triplet pregnancy and birth by tenfold.”
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Practice Committee suggests that lifetime costs of chronic illness, rehabilitation and special education associated with the adverse results of multiple births are significant and need to be taken into account.
*All quoted data represents women under 35 years of age
Founded in 1988, RSC New England is among the 10 largest reproductive medicine practices in the United States. Based in Lexington, Massachusetts, RSC New England operates 12 offices throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island and provides comprehensive diagnosis, evaluation, consultation and treatment for infertility. RSC New England is a member of Attain Fertility Centers, the largest network of fertility service providers in the U.S.
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