Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Medicine: one IVF embryo just as likely to result in pregnancy as two (or three or four or five)

Using a single embryo for in-vitro fertilization is just as likely to result in a successful pregnancy as transferring two embryos, while reducing the chance of a higher-risk twin conception, according to research released on Friday.

Women pregnant with twins, triplets or quadruplets are at greater risk of serious health complications than are women carrying just one fetus.

In addition, delivering multiple babies carries a higher risk of premature labor and low birth weight, both of which can be fatal to infants.

If they survive, premature babies are more likely to suffer from neurological conditions like cerebral palsy.
Phew! That clears that one up. There's not much room for extras in a test tube, never mind in mama.

I'm not sure if this really does anything to address the insane cost of IVF, since once you're in there, it's not much more expensive to shoot in four embryos compared to one. But I'm sure it could do quite a bit to reduce pre-natal care costs for high risk multiple-birth pregnancies.


Anonymous said...

i don't know - if it was me and i was paying $12,000 i'd WANT twins - the insurance pays for the prenatal care and you get two kids for the price of one. even with the added risk i bet most parents would still opt to implant two hoping for twins.

Garrett said...

As always, I might actually take your argument seriously if you didn't sign as "anonymous," but since you did, I assume you are an idiot.

Yes, insurance pays for prenatal care. So how does that affect the overall cost? Caring for a mother with twins is substantially more expensive, on average, than caring for a single birth pregnancy, no matter who's paying for it. And cost is cost, which is passed on to the consumer one way or another, in premiums or out-of-pocket.

Your statement "even with the added risk" implies simply that you believe the risk is theoretical or at least minimal, which it is not. The option of "shooting for two" is definitely viable, but the important issue is that the risk associated with multiple embryos does not add benefit to overall outcomes compared to single embryo placement.