NPA supports transferring only one embryo with IVF to reduce risks and costs

The National Perinatal Association (NPA), which represents US Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) professionals who are responsible for providing care in NICUs, recently published an ethical statement in the journal Neonatal Today, urging fertility clinics and health insurance companies to reduce the health risks resulting from multiple births through IVF. Consistent with the recommendations of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, the NPA urge clinics to transfer only one embryo during IVF. Reducing the likelihood of twins and triplets will result in fewer short- and long- term maternal and fetal complications, and significant reduce health care costs.

According to the latest statistics released by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, of the 61,740 babies born from assisted reproduction in the US in 2012, anywhere from 45-48% of the births were multiples – twins, triplets, or more. Risks related to multiple births include higher rates of premature and very premature births, low and very low birth weight, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, heart conditions, sepsis, perinatal encephalopathy, genetic disorders, and stillbirth, many of which often require extended stays in the NICU. Bernadette Hoppe, president of the NPA and co-author of the ethical statement, says:

“Despite reductions by some clinics in the number of embryos being transferred, ART/IVF multiple births continue to significantly outnumber those occurring among naturally conceived infants. Our colleagues witness the devastating consequences that multiple births and lengthy NICU stays have on families.”

Dr. Raylene Phillips, a neonatalist at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, and co-author of the ethical statement says:

“Unfortunately, many parents have not been properly informed about the potential health vulnerabilities and financial burdens involved in multiple embryo transfers and births. As a result, families are unprepared and often do not procure adequate health insurance. In some cases, the State picks up hospital charges.”

Learn more about single embryo transfer here and here.

Read more about multiple births here and here.

Read the press release here. 

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