Center for Assisted Reproduction

The Risk of Twins with IVF, and How to Reduce It

By CARE Fertility on July 25, 2014

Newborn babies, such as those conceived through IVF, sleeping next to each other, one with a pink hat, the other with a blue hatThe benefits of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, are well known to couples whose dreams of having children were made true through the miracle of modern fertility treatment. However, as with any medical treatment, IVF does carry some risks, which prospective patients should fully understand before deciding to proceed. During consultations with patients at the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Dallas, the risk of IVF twins is one of the potentially undesirable outcomes that we discuss with hopeful parents-to-be.

Although IVF twins are a relatively rare occurrence at our practice, the risk is significantly higher than it is among people who conceive naturally. For some couples, this risk is more than justified by the possible reward. Our fertility experts can help you decide whether this is true in your case.

The Relationship between Embryo Transfer and IVF Twins

There is a direct relationship between the number of embryos transferred during an IVF cycle and the risk of having twins. It is possible to reduce the risk of having twins by limiting the number of embryos transferred during a given cycle; however, this can also reduce the chances of successful pregnancy. Many couples also choose to transfer more embryos than might be advisable in order to save money, especially those couples who can perhaps only afford one or two IVF cycles.

Ultimately, the number of embryos transferred in a single IVF cycle is up to the patient; our fertility experts will always be honest and open about a patient’s options and the risks and advantages associated with each, but we respect the final decision of the patient. Patients who decide to proceed with the transfer of a higher number of embryos are always made quite aware of the heightened risk of a multiples birth.

It is understandable that many patients choose to make IVF as cost-effective as possible. However, patients must also realize that the cost of raising twins is obviously going to be considerably higher than that of raising a single child. This should factor into the decision-making process and, indeed, into the process of deciding whether to undergo IVF at all.

Reducing the Risk of Twins

There are other methods that can be used to reduce the risk of IVF twins. The most common method is blastocyst culture and transfer, in which embryos are grown for five days instead of the three days associated with the conventional method. Only the healthiest and most viable embryos are chosen for transfer at this point. Because the quality of the embryos is generally higher than with conventional methods, the odds of successful pregnancy are increased without having to transfer a greater number of embryos. In fact, the rate of successful pregnancies using the blastocyst culture and transfer method is roughly the same as that of conventional methods in which higher numbers of embryos are transferred, but the risk of twins is much lower.

Contact Our Fertility Center Today

To learn more about IVF and the risk of twins, we encourage you to contact our state-of-the-art fertility center today.

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