The Creating a Family show yesterday was on Preventing IVF Failures. We talked about the amazing success ratesAdvantages of Single Embryo Transfer that can be achieved with IVF now, and yet the rate of twins is still stubbornly high in the US. It made me pause again after my blog yesterday (Twins are Cool. How Can We Adopt Them) and assess how much of the twin pregnancies after IVF are due to patient pressure?

How Common are Twins after IVF

The rate of twin births increased by 70 percent between 1980 and 2004, but have leveled off since. Over 40% of births after IVF are twins.

Risk for Twin Pregnancies

While most twins will eventually do fine, I think we tend to underestimate the risk to the babies and mother in twin pregnancies.

  • About 60% of twins will be born premature.
  • About half of all twins will be born with low birth weight.
  • The risk for cerebral palsy is 4 times more likely to occur in twins.
  • Twins are at an increased risk for  increased risk of being in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
  • Twins are more likely to have intellectual disabilities.
  • Twins are at an increased risk for vision and hearing loss.
  • Women expecting twins are more than twice as likely as women with a singleton pregnancy to develop preeclampsia.
  • Women pregnant with twins are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

Good News

In the past, infertility patients were often faced with the difficult decision of having to accept a lower success rate if they chose single embryo transfer over transferring two embryos. Not so now.

According to Dr. Sonia Elguero, an infertility doctor with Boston IVF, your chances of pregnancy are about the same if you transfer two embryos at the same time or transfer one embryo and freeze the remaining embryo, to transfer if the first transfer does not implant. I suspect the healthy baby rate is higher for the two single embryo transfers than for the two embryo transfer. She did note that the age of the mother had to be taken into consideration when making this decision.

If you’re thinking about IVF, you will enjoy this show on how to make sure you have the greatest chance of success.

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How many embryos did you transfer? Did you worry about the risk of twins or were you secretly hoping for a twin pregnancy?

Source for risk of twins: www.marchofdimes.com

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