Twin pregnancies through IVF are riskier?

Having double or single embryo transfers have long been a contentious issue. A Swedish study reveals that twin pregnancies through IVF are riskier. Read on to find out more about this intriguing find from the Swedish researchers.

Couples who have resorted to in vitro fertilization (IVF) due to infertility problems often opt for double embryo transfers rather than single embryo transfers. The common logic underlying such a decision is often because patients want to increase their chances of getting pregnant. However, according to a report published on the yourhealth website, twin pregnancies are riskier. Let's take a look at twin pregnancies through IVF.

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The article is based on the results from a Swedish study which found that  twin pregnancies through IVF was riskier than having two babies separately through IVF. Lead researcher Antonina Sazonova was quoted as saying, "The neonatal and maternal outcomes were dramatically better for women undergoing two IVF singleton pregnancies compared with one IVF twin pregnancy after double-embryo transfer."

Single embryo transfers

The debate over multiple births have been going on for quite some time with no consensus anytime soon. However, with the results of this study, advocates for single embryo transfers now have more evidence to back up their case. Lead researcher Antonina Sazonova wrote in the journal Fertility and Sterility “These results support single-embryo transfer to minimize the risks associated with twin pregnancies."

The study was conducted by collecting information from Swedish IVF clinics between 2002 and 2006. The data comprised of 991 mothers who had twins through IVF and 921 mothers who had 2 separate children through IVF. The report states that almost half (47%) were prematurely born and 39% of the twin babies weighed less than what was considered healthy. On the other hand, only 7% of singleton babies were born prematurely and less than 5% had unhealthily low weights.

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More complications for twin pregnancies through IVF

The study also reported that twins had higher chances of developing breathing complications, sepsis or jaundice. The mothers of the twins also had two to three times more preeclampsia - high blood pressure and protein in the urine – and had a four times higher chance of requiring a C-section rather than women who had two single births. But the report also says whether you have twin babies or singletons, it doesn’t affect the babies’ chances of developing dangerous health problems.

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Double embryo transfers 

The article also reveals some enlightening information that double embryo transfers does not necessarily imply a higher chance of becoming pregnant. "A lot of patients, when they've had infertility for a long time, think that it's a bonus to get two," said Lynn Westphal, a women's health and fertility specialist at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California.

Westphal added, "We know it's always safest to have one child at a time.” A strong advocate for single embryo transfers, Westphal also said "Some data suggest women are just as likely to get pregnant if they have a single embryo transfer, versus more than one. But the findings have been inconsistent.”

She added, "A lot of patients are focusing just on getting pregnant, they're not looking at the whole pregnancy and looking at the outcome of twins. They're just thinking if they transfer more, they're more likely to get pregnant. And they're thinking if they have twins, they're just getting everything done at one time."

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