About half of advanced fertility treatments result in multiple births. Now fertility experts are recommending new guidelines to reduce the number of multiple births because risks exist. Dr. Eric Forman of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey told NJTV News Senior Corespondent Desirée Taylor that the changes in fertility treatments are due to the success rate of a single embryo rather than multiple ones during in vitro fertilization.
“In the past, for a long time we really had the goal of one single embryo in a single healthy pregnancy but success rates were compromised if you transferred one embryo,” said Forman. “So patients did want to maximize their chances and transfer multiple embryos. With improvements in technology and in vitro fertilization, we’ve actually improved our ability to select embryos and improve the safety and success of IFV.”
Forman also said that there is now a process to select which embryos have the greatest chance of success with a technology called comprehensive chromosome screening. Through CCS, doctors can see which embryo will have a better chance at implanting.
IFV can be an expensive process, according to Forman, but CCS can be an insurance policy to a more successful path in trying to get pregnant. It would avoid transferring embryos with the wrong number of chromosomes and avoid miscarriages, he said.
As for the feedback on the changes in IFV, Forman says patients are embracing the idea of single embryo transfer.
In multiple births, such as a pregnancy with twins, there are additional risks involved. Forman said multiples have five times the risk of premature birth and there’s a higher risk of babies having to spend time in the NICU.
“A lot of patients are focused on the pregnancy. They’ve been trying for a long time and understandable they want to get pregnant as quickly as possible,” said Forman. “But they really want a health pregnancy and a healthy baby and when we tell them about the risks of twins, the higher risks about five times the risk of pre-term delivery, much higher risk of having babies spend time in the NICU, they become less excited about that prospect.”
Forman also said that the cost of health care does increase and it is not necessary to have patients go through the side effects of infertility treatments in seeking a multiple pregnancy.
If patients want to have multiple babies, Forman said that with the technology of CCS, after a single embryo transfer, embryos can be frozen and used later on if the patient wants to go through another pregnancy.
Read more about the research from Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey in this white paper.