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Causes of multiple births in IVF

Causes of multiple births in IVF


There is more risk of having multiple babies is increasing with the IVF treatment and also with the drugs used at the time of infertility treatment. There are about 30 to 40 percent of infertility drugs leads to multiple births of triplets at the time of IVF. This is directly related to the practice of transferring multiple embryos at embryo transfer.Multiple births are related to increased risk of pregnancy loss, obstetrical complications, prematurity, and neonatal morbidity with the potential for long term damage.

Currently, after IVF and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) around 16% of pregnancies are multiples, compared with only 1–2% after natural conception. This can be directly related to more than one embryo being transferred during IVF and ICSI.

  • If two separate embryos implant in the womb, the mother will be pregnant with non-identical twins.

  • The chance of a single embryo dividing and resulting in identical twins is also higher after IVF, particularly after blastocyst transfer. However it is not yet known why this  happens. So it is possible to end up with twins from the transfer of a single embryo, or triplets from two embryos.

  • There is almost 15% of babies born as a result of IVF to women under 35 (using fresh eggs) are multiple births.

  • The numbers of embryos that can be transferred is no more than two for women under 40 or no more than three for women over 40, the aim for all patients should be to have a single healthy birth.

  • Because of this all clinics must now have a strategy to minimize the risk of a multiple pregnancy, by using elective single embryo transfer where appropriate.

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