According to a Dutch study published recently, taller women have a higher chance of giving birth to twins upon receiving two embryos through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Marieke Lambers of the VUMC, Gynaecology Obstetrics and Reproductive Medicine in Amsterdam and her team studied 19,840 women from 1983 to 1995. Of these, 6,589 completed their first IVF cycle and 2,357 received two embryos, which resulted in 371 single births and 125 twin pregnancies. This is the first time that a link between the height of the mother and the probability of multiple births has been discovered.
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"When we came to analyse the twin group, we found that a maternal height of over 1.74 m (five feet, nine and a half inches) and more than 11 oocytes [eggs] retrieved was independently associated with twin pregnancies," Lambers said.
According to the UK Multiple Births Foundation, fertility clinics often transfer several fertilized embryos to the uterus in order to increase the chances of one leading to a live birth. Multiple births prove to be a problem due to the health risks involved. Multiples tend to be born prematurely and underweight.
The risk for an early or late miscarriage is higher for multiples than for single births. There is also the danger of complications during pregnancy such as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. All of which might lead to the fertility clinic recommending a fetal reduction that would involve aborting one of the fetuses.
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The 2010 population statistics report by the Department of Statistics Singapore showed more Singaporean women getting married at an average age of 29 years old. Experts believe that the risk of infertility or problems conceiving increases with age.
Therefore, there is a higher need for alternative fertility treatments such as IVF. However, with this study on taller women and multiple births, how safe will it be for them to conceive via IVF? Will you proceed with a multiple pregnancies despite its risks? Share with us your thoughts on IVF.
Photo credit: Ruth L