There’s nothing more beautiful than the act of introducing a precious new life into the world, and few things as frustrating and sad as not being able to do so despite your best efforts. Thankfully, science has provided many thousands of hopeful parents with the ability to have their own children through assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART has made it possible for couples to realize their dreams whether they suffer from female factor infertility, male factor infertility, or both. The most popular and effective form of ART is in vitro fertilization, better known as IVF.

Of course, no medical procedure is without risk, and while IVF is certainly among the safest procedures in all of medicine, it is no exception to this rule. One of the most common risks associated with IVF is multiples pregnancy. At the fertility treatment center of Dr. Richard Dickey serving greater New Orleans, IVF twins, triplets, and higher order pregnancies do not occur often; however, patients should understand that they are a very real possibility. If you turn to Dr. Dickey and his colleagues at The Fertility Institute to help you start or expand your family, you will be advised of all possible risks, including the risk of multiples pregnancy, during a private, one-on-one consultation. Dr. Dickey wants you to make the most confident and informed choice possible regarding your fertility treatment and your future family.

Embryo Transfer and Risk of Multiples

The number of embryos transferred during an IVF cycle directly influences the risk of multiples pregnancy. Limiting the number of embryos transferred helps to reduce the risk of multiples. However, many patients try to save money and increase their chances of successful pregnancy by transferring a larger number of embryos than we would normally recommend. Especially for couples who can afford only one or two cycles of IVF, the temptation to increase the odds of successful pregnancy by transferring a large number of embryos is understandable, although they are made well aware of the risk of multiples before proceeding with that decision.

Ironically, while these couples may save money during the fertility treatment process, they often end up spending far more money in the long run to support twins, triplets, quadruplets, or more. Make no mistake about it: multiples are expensive, from the costs associated with their births to the costs of feeding, clothing, and otherwise caring for them.

It is also important to note that both mother and children face heightened risks to their health in multiples pregnancies. These risks include:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)
  • Pre-eclampsia

Reducing the Risk of Multiples

Fortunately, the fertility experts of The Fertility Institute utilize methods such as blastocyst culture and transfer to improve the chances of successful pregnancy while reducing the odds of multiples births. The blastocyst culture and transfer method entails the growth of embryos for five days instead of three, as with conventional methods. Then, they choose only the healthiest embryos to transfer, limiting their number without decreasing the chances of successful pregnancy.

Learn More about the Risk of Multiples with IVF

If you would like to learn more about the risk of multiples associated with IVF, please contact The Fertility Institute today.