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Multiple Pregnancy after IVF

Why do doctors try to avoid you getting pregnant with twins or triplets if you have IVF treatment?

Posted: 11 November 2008
by Sarah Lawson

Carrying with more than one baby is the single biggest health risk for a woman undergoing fertility treatment (or assisted conception). Because of this, doctors now try to avoid creating a situation where this is more likely to happen.

Why is a multiple pregnancy a worry?
Some of the general risks of any pregnancy are more likely to affect you or affect you worse if you are expecting more than one baby. For the mother, blood pressure can be a worry, and for the babies, the chances of being born prematurely or having a low birth weight (which in itself causes problems during birth and into childhood) are a real danger.
The risk of a baby dying before or just after birth are four times higher for a twin than a single baby, and seven times higher for a triplet.
That is not to say that medical care has not dramatically improved the outcome for babies of multiple pregnancy, but it is not a risk a woman should knowingly walk into by having fertility treatment that increases her chances of expecting more than one baby.

Why does fertility treatment make it more likely I could have twins?
As treatments like IVF became more popular, doctors realised that they could increase the chances of one course of treatment being successful if they implanted more than one embryo at a time during a cycle of treatment. However, as the incidence of multiple pregnancy dramatically rose, so the Human Fertilsation and Embryology Authority decided to impose a limit on how many embryos could be transferred at one go, during IVF treatment. Now the maximum is two for women under the age of 40 and a maximum of three for women aged 40 or over who are using their own eggs. (If they are using donated eggs, the maximum is two).

If you want to weigh up the pros and cons of the risk of multiple pregnancy, and are considering fertility treatment, it's worth visiting an excellent website dedicated to the subject, called www.oneatatime.org.uk.

If you are expecting twins or triplets there is no need to worry. Nowadays there is much better, informed care for pregnant women expecting more than one baby.
For more information, go to pregnant with twins and also visit the very useful www.tamba.org.uk (Tamba is the Twins and Multiple Births Association).

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IVF, multiple, pregnant, pregnancy, twin, triplet

Discuss this story

after ivf this year, i was pregnant with triplets. at week 14 problems were discovered. the identical twins had twin to twin transfusion syndrome. at week 19 we lost the recipient twin. at week 26 i gave birth to twin girls weighing 1lb 15oz & 1lb 10oz. after 10 weeks in the neo natel unit, we lost the smaller twin, chloe to multi organ failure. we now have a beautiful baby girl at home. she weighs 7lb now. she is quite likely to have a few health issues as she gets older.

if i were to recommend ivf, i would say only have 1 embryo transfered. the likelyhood of having more than 1 baby is high & the problems increase so much for multiple births. the pain we have suffered losing our chloe will stay with us forever. the pain she suffered, is quite unbearable for me to describe.

good luck to anyone having ivf.

kate x

Posted: 11/11/2008 at 22:37


congratulations and sorry for your loses,i lost my first baby in 2004 at 21weeks and even though i had to see my son into the world and see him out as time has gone by the pain heals and i now have 3 lovely children and one on the way, i look at my children and appriciate them so much but i will never forget my son and in time you will put your babies at the bck of your mind and things wont be as heart breaking as they are right now

take care


Posted: 14/11/2008 at 10:16


Found this website and read your message, you always feel no one could ever understand so it was nice to read I wasn't going mad.x

Yep the emotion you go through is un describable !  and not only is it emotional but physically demanding to.

After 2 failed attempts we were given a 5% chance for the 3rd go. Any % to us was worth a shot, but mentally prepared for it not to work, however we had 2 embryos put back sadly lost 1 early on but the other stayed to fight another day then week then month and at 35 weeks came into the world, Georgie is now 6 months old and we still can't believe it, but never do i forget the one one we lost.xx

take care


Posted: 15/11/2008 at 19:37

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