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Ob/Gyn Group Urges Docs to Help Prevent 'Octomom'-Type Multiple Births
Date:1/25/2013

By Carina Storrs
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A leading ob/gyn group is recommending that pregnant women with three or more fetuses be counseled by their doctors and told about the option of reducing the number of fetuses they are carrying.

Known as multi-fetal pregnancies, these are typically the result of fertility treatments and are associated with a much higher risk of complications, as well as premature delivery and developmental issues for the children, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

The issue first gained notoriety in 2009 when Nadya Suleman, dubbed the "Octomom" by the press, gave birth to octuplets after her fertility doctor implanted 12 embryos into her uterus. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine generally recommends implanting no more than two embryos in women under 35 (Suleman was 33). Suleman's fertility doctor lost his medical license in 2011 for this and other cases of negligent medical treatment.

In its new guidelines, the ACOG also pointed out the potential social and economic hardships of having multiples, along with increased parenting stress, lower quality of life, depression and possible child abuse, the group noted. Health care costs for twins and triplets are four and 10 times higher than for single births, respectively.

The recommendations also emphasize the importance of preventing multi-fetal pregnancies.

"Prevention of multi-fetal pregnancy is preferred," said Dr. Monique Spillman, chairwoman of the ACOG's ethics committee, which wrote the new recommendations.

Fertility treatments are usually the reason for multi-fetal pregnancies, although women with multiple fetuses should receive information on pregnancy reduction whether they got pregnant through natural conception or with fertility treatments, Spillman said.

Treatments that increase women's chances of getting pregnant with
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