Dr. Fleischman noted that approximately 88,000 babies are born preterm annually as a result of the recent increase of twins, triplets, and other multiple births. About 60 percent of twins, more than 90 percent of triplets, and virtually all quadruplets and higher-order multiples are born prematurely, he noted. In addition to the increased risks associated with multiple birth, studies have also suggested that even infants born singly, but conceived with ovulation stimulation are at increased risk for preterm delivery than naturally conceived single births, the study authors pointed out.
Dr. Fleischman said it is critical for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and other clinical societies to develop clear guidelines on the use of fertility drugs to help prevent many premature births.
The study found that 4.6 percent of live births in 2005 resulted from fertility drug use, a figure 4 times higher than the 1.2 percent of births resulting from ARTs. A total of 22.8 percent of babies born as multiples were conceived using fertility drugs alone.
The study authors conclude that more than 190,000 infants per year are conceived with fertility drug use, but also say this figure is an underestimate because there is no system for population-based surveillance of births resulting from fertility drug treatment.
"The estimates from this analysis, together with separate published estimates from the National ART surveillance system, indicate that in all, approximately 6 percent of US infants are now exposed to ovulation stimulation treatments," stated Laura Schieve, epidem
|SOURCE March of Dimes|
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