Multiple births are associated with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to a large extend.
In the last decade, the cases of women who have given birth to twins or even triplets have increased, which has led infertility specialists to establish a series of guidelines to prevent this, since multiple pregnancies entail more risks than singleton pregnancies.
For couples who have been trying to conceive for a long time, the desire to have a baby is so strong that sometimes they find shelter in the fact that chances of getting pregnant increase if more than a single embryo is transferred. The problem is, most of them do not take into account the risk of multiple births it entails.
Being pregnant with more than one embryo can lead to severe complications for both the health of the mother and the babies. For these reasons, carefully evaluating the pros and cons before making a decision as regards the number of embryos to transfer.
The main cons of multiple pregnancies are due to the risks it conveys for both the mother and the babies, including:
Preterm birth When delivery occurs before 37weeks of pregnancy.
Preeclampsia A type of high blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy. It causes kidney problems, causing the loss of proteins through urine.
Gestational diabetes A type of diabetes that appears for the first time when the woman gets pregnant. It typically appears after the first trimester.
C-section birth A surgical incision is performed on the abdomen and the uterus to deliver the babies.
Postpartum bleeding It is considered if the blood loss exceeds more than 500 ml after a vaginal birth, or over 1,000 ml after a C-section.
Miscarriage or vanishing twin syndrome Although most twin pregnancies develop without problems, the risk of miscarriage is higher than in singleton pregnancies.
Intrauterine growth restriction The fetus is unable to grow as much as it needs due to a deficiency of nutrients and/or oxygen. Usually, it is due to complications in the placenta.
Low birth weight It is diagnosed when the weight is below 2.5 kg.
Perinatal mortality Perinatal death occurs when the fetus dies at week 28 of pregnancy or later, or within the first seven days after being born.
Multiple embryo transfer should be avoided with a focus on a single embryo transfer only.
The “success” of an assisted reproductive treatment does not depend only on achieving pregnancy. We need to be attentive to the fact that the ultimate aim would be delivering a healthy baby and avoiding preterm deliveries.