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Multiple births increasingly due to fertility drugs, not IVF

New research shows that multiple births involving triplets or even quads are increasingly due to fertility drugs that are given to women to make them produce multiple eggs, rather than from using multiple embryos that are created through IVF.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Brown University. Although increasing use of IVF has been targeting as the cause of the rise in multiple pregnancies, researchers found that more than one third of twins and three quarters of triplets and higher multiple births are the result of the use of fertility drugs – specifically oral medications and injections aimed at making the ovaries produce multiple eggs – rather than IVF, which is more costly and invasive.

Given that multiple births are more costly for the medical system and pose increased risks to mothers and infants, doctors have been urged to transfer fewer embryos during IVF in order to reduce the number of multiple births. However, this study suggests that multiple births are more often the result of fertility drugs, rather than IVF, suggesting that doctors also need to more closely monitor the number of maturing eggs in their patients who have been prescribed fertility drugs, and advise patients not to try to conceive that month if there are too many eggs.

Dr. Fady Sharara of the Virginia Center for Reproductive Medicine urges couples to avoid multiple births. He warns that: “There are medical, social, emotional and financial reasons to avoid having twins” or larger multiple births.

Read more about how twins are made here.

Read the article here.


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