Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 6th 2013 Contents B28
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Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, December 6, 2013
More than one-third of US twins, and more than
three-quarters of triplets and other multiple births,
are now born as a result of fertility treatments,
according to estimates from a new study.
In 2011, 36 per cent of twin births and 77 per cent
of triplet and higher-order births (quadruplets, etc)
were aided by fertility treatments, which include
both in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and other treatments,
such as the use of drugs to stimulate the ovaries and
induce ovulation, the study found.
Between 1998 and 2011, the national rate of triplet
and higher-order births decreased by nearly 30 per
cent---a trend that researchers called good news.
Part of that decline may be related to a 1998 change
in guidelines that discouraged doctors from implanting
three or more embryos during a single IVF cycle.
After that, the proportion of triplet and higher-order
births attributable to IVF
declined by 33 per cent
(from 48 per cent in 1998
to 32 per cent in 2011).
However, there s still a lot
of work to be done to reduce
the US rate of multiple
births, said study researcher
Dr Eli Y Adashi, a professor
of obstetrics and gynaecol-
ogy at Brown University. The
percentage of twin births
resulting from IVF and non-
IVF fertility treatments is
still on the rise.
Why a decline in multiple births is good
Twin and other multiple births increase the risk
of complications for the mother and infant, including
the risk of premature delivery. An unintended con-
sequence of fertility treatment technology was an
increase in the nation s multiple-birth rate, Adashi
The new study also suggests that non-IVF fertility
treatments deserve greater attention, as they now
contribute to a greater proportion of multiple births
than IVF does. The percentage of triplet and high-
er-order births resulting from non-IVF treatments
increased from 36 per cent in 1998 to 45 per cent
in 2011, the study found.
"When people hear multiple, they intuitively point
at IVF," Adashi said. The study found "IVF is an
actor," he said, but "not the leading culprit when it
comes to the genesis of multiples."
But unlike multiple births from IVF, which result
from the number of embryos that are intentionally
implanted, multiple births from non-IVF fertility
treatments are difficult to prevent, Adashi said. That s
because non-IVF treatments, including oral and
injectable drugs, stimulate ovulation in ways that
cannot be precisely controlled, Adashi said.
How to reduce multiple births
But there are a few steps doctors can take that
may reduce the rate of multiple births from non-
IVF fertility treatments, such as lowering the doses
of the ovulation-stimulating drugs, Adashi said.
"Increased awareness of multiple births resulting
from non-IVF fertility treatments may lead to
improved medical practice patterns and a decrease
in the rate of multiple births," the researchers wrote
in the December 5 issue of The New England Journal
To come up with their estimates, the researchers
analysed information on birth rates between 1962
and 1966---before the advent of fertility treatments---
to get a measure of the natural rate of multiple births.
They also used publicly available data on IVF births
between 1997 and 2011.
Because no database tracks multiple births due to
non-IVF treatment, the researchers estimated this
The percentage of triplet and higher-order births resulting from non-in vitro
fertilisation treatments showed an increase. GOOGLE IMAGES
number by factoring in the natural rate of multiple
births and IVF births. The researchers also took into
account maternal age, which increases the chance
of giving birth to multiples, but were not able to
account for other factors, like obesity, which some
studies suggest increases the chances of giving birth
to twins. (LiveScience.com)
Decline in multiple births
from fertility treatment
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
lead to improved
patterns and a
decrease in the
rate of multiple
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