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IVF change leads to fewer mutiple pregnancies

13th May 2011

New data has revealed that the proportion of risky multiple births during IVF treatment is falling.

pregnancy

Evidence shows that multiple birth pregnancies have a higher chance of miscarriage and of leading to premature birth and of babies with cerebral palsy.

But the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) findings found that by 2009, 22% of IVF births led to more than one child compared to 23.6% in 2008.

Multiple births arise because of moves to increase the chances of IVF working by implanting more embryos.

However, it increases the likelihood of the mother giving birth to twins or triplets.

The frequency of such births led the HFEA to bring in targets for reducing multiple births because of the health concerns for mother and child.

Targets aimed to achieve no more than 24% IVF births resulting in more than one child by April 2010, falling to 20% by this April and 15% by April 2012.

Professor Lisa Jardine, chair of the HFEA said: “It is excellent news that the number of multiple births is coming down whilst overall success rates for patients are still being maintained. This shows that the policy is proving successful.”

The HFEA says that the increased use of single embryo transfer – where only one embryo is implanted – has not affected success rates.

Jane Denton, director of the Multiple Births Foundation, welcomed the latest figures.

She said: “There is no doubt that a multiple pregnancy creates risks for both mother and babies. The good news is that the strategy is working.”

 

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