At Fertility Answers, our ultimate goal is to help you have one healthy baby at a time.
The end goal of infertility treatment is pretty simple: to have a healthy baby. But when many people think of fertility treatment, their minds often wander, hopefully or fearfully, to the possibility of twins. This thinking is totally understandable given that the fertility drugs used for ovulation induction in fertility treatment are intended to mature multiple eggs. In recent years, fertility treatments have indeed been one of the main causes of multiple gestation.
At Fertility Answers, we celebrate every patient who conceives here, but our ultimate goal is to have one healthy baby at a time and decrease the incidence of twins or more. Since 2014 our IVF twin pregnancy rate dropped from 50% per cycle to barely 1% today due mainly to transferring only one embryo at a time. At the same time, our pregnancy rates have risen.
How is this possible? New technology in embryology, most notably preimplantation genetic testing, or PGT-A, has all but eliminated the need to transfer more than one embryo. Since we have changed to a single embryo transfer policy, our twin rate as a percentage of live IVF births has dropped drastically while our pregnancy rates have reached as high as 70%.
Multiple gestation pregnancies carry many risks
While the prospect of having twins may seem attractive to some, the reality is that twins greatly increases the risk to both the mom and babies. It is still very common in our initial consults to hear, “But we WANT twins! Or even triplets!”. This is totally understandable! The frustration of years of infertility prompt us to want to “catch up” and build our family as fast as possible. But the risks are often overlooked.
Complications from a twin pregnancy include:
- Preterm birth: These babies are often very small and suffer complications such as underdeveloped lungs, GI tract and brain, blindness, deafness and a prolonged hospitalization in the intensive care unit.
- Hypertension: Mothers with a multiple gestation have a 2-3 times higher chance to develop high blood pressure.
- Gestational Diabetes: Mothers with twins or more also have a 2-3 times higher chance to develop diabetes during pregnancy.
- Birth Defects such as spina bifida
- Increased risk of C-section and postpartum hemorrhage.
- Cord entanglement
What’s more, the average cost (infant and mother) for a singleton pregnancy ($21,000) is much lower when compared to the average cost of a twin pregnancy ($114,000) or triplet gestation ($458,000). Keeping the cost of births down helps keep healthcare costs down for everyone.
So while we celebrate all of our babies, singletons and twins, our goal is always one healthy baby for mom at a time!