Fertility doctors aim to lower rate of multiple births
BOSTON — In the five years since the “Octomom” case, big multiple births have gone way down, but the twin rate has barely budged. Fertility experts are pushing a new goal: one.
A growing number of couples are attempting pregnancy with a single embryo, helped by new ways to pick the ones most likely to succeed. Guidelines urge doctors to stress this approach.
Twins aren't always twice as nice; they have much higher risks of prematurity and serious health problems.
Abigail and Ken Ernst of Oldwick, N.J., used the one-embryo approach to conceive Lucy, a daughter born in September. It “just seemed the most normal, the most natural way” to conceive and avoid a high-risk twin pregnancy, the new mom said.
Not all couples feel that way, though. Some can only afford one try with in vitro fertilization, so they insist that at least two embryos be used to boost their odds and view twins as two for the price of one.
The 2009 case of a California woman who had octuplets using IVF focused attention on the issue of big multiple births, and the numbers have dropped, except for twins.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent numbers show that 46 percent of IVF babies are multiples— mostly twins —and 37 percent are born premature. By comparison, only 3 percent of babies born without fertility help are twins, and about 12 percent are preterm.
It's mostly an American problem. Some European countries that pay for fertility treatments require using one embryo at a time.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is trying to make it the norm in the United States, too. Its guidelines, updated this year, say that for women with reasonable medical odds of success, those younger than 35 should be offered single embryo transfer and no more than two at a time.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Attorneys: Sterilizations were part of plea deal talks
- 7 shot at Florida spring-break house party
- Republican presidential hopefuls near-unanimity on the issue of their own guns
- A bipartisan push on toxic chemicals makes some Democrats fume
- Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property
- Christie rails against high N.J. estate tax
- Mysteries of dark matter come to light in Science study
- American crash victims: U.S. government contractor, daughter
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Gun used by agent who helped jail Capone headed to museum
- Congress might act boldly on air traffic control