OTTAWA, July 29, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Twins born through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) are 50 percent more likely to be born prematurely – from 32 to 36 weeks, as compared to twins conceived naturally through sexual intercourse, according to recently published research.
A team of researchers from the University of Ottawa utilized a meta-analysis of prior research to determine if low birth weight and premature deliveries were associated with IVF. Besides the tendency to earlier delivery, IVF twins were also 33 percent more likely to undergo c-section and twice as likely to be admitted to intensive care than were normally conceived twins, the report revealed.
The UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is considering limiting the number of embryos transferred to the womb during IVF to just one – currently the UK and other countries allow 2-3 embryos to increase the odds that one of the children survives. The odds of having twins is increased with IVF to one in four.
Angela McNab, HFEA’s chief executive told the UK’s Daily Mail, “We know that the biggest risk from fertility treatment is caused by multiple births – having twins or triplets – and this is a risk both to the mother and to the children born.”
“Multiple births are more likely to be premature and the babies below normal birth weight,” she explained. “This can have profound implications for the children’s health and development in the years to come.”
McNab warned of the health complications associated with multiple births. “We also know that twins or triplets are much more likely to have cerebral palsy, to die around the time of birth or for there to be other complications during pregnancy. Women are designed to have healthy babies, one at a time, and with natural conception this is what usually happens.”