IVF twin face risk of complications

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Wed 03/03/2010

Tweet twins In new research to be published soon by BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the authors reveal findings that IVF is associated with an increased risk for some neonatal complications, not only among singletons but also among twins. It has long been known that for singletons this was the case, but for twins the research was unclear. A multiple pregnancy by itself is a complication. Multiples of all types – IVF or spontaneous, non-identical or identical – have higher risks for complications. So is it the twin factor by itself that inherently presents the complication or could a study definitively show that IVF was yet another compounding factor? Considerable debate has surrounded the question. Many prior studies performed unequivalent comparisons, for instance non-identical IVF twins compared to identical and non-identical spontaneously conceived twins. This study sought to remedy that. The study was limited therefore to non-identical, different sexed twins of two varieties, IVF and spontaneously conceived. They reviewed all births in Sweden between 1982 and 2007. The researchers compared 1545 IVF twins with 8675 twins of natural occurrence. The findings show that preterm delivery, prior to 32 weeks, was increased among the IVF twins. There was also an increased occurrence of respiratory problems and jaundice. “Multiple pregnancy remains the biggest risk of fertility treatment. Twins face an increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and serious health problems. When possible, couples undergoing IVF should be encouraged to opt for single embryo transfer in order to reduce the risk of multiple pregnancy,” concluded Professor Philip Steer, BJOG editor-in-chief.

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