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Parents of twins report more mental health symptoms than parents of singletons
Date:7/7/2008

Barcelona, Spain: Mothers and fathers of twins conceived either spontaneously or with assisted reproductive technology (ART) suffer more mental health symptoms after delivery and one year later than do parents of singleton babies, according to research presented to the 24th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona today (Monday).

However, the mothers of ART twins had fewer symptoms of depression before the birth than did mothers of twins conceived spontaneously. "This may be due to better counselling and preparation of infertile couples for twins," Dr Leila Unkila Kallio told the conference. "The good mental health during pregnancy may also reflect the couples' satisfaction with successful treatment and fulfilment of hopes for parenthood," she added. After birth, fathers of twins in both groups showed more depression, anxiety, social dysfunction and sleeping problems than did fathers of singletons.

The study is the first to investigate the mental health of both mothers and fathers of twins conceived either spontaneously or through ART using their own sperm and eggs, covering the transitional period to parenthood from pre-birth through to one year afterwards. Dr Unkila Kallio said that it showed that psychological well-being of prospective parents should be taken into account when deciding how many embryos to implant during ART as well as the health risks of twin pregnancies to both mothers and babies.

"We believe it is important to reduce multiple pregnancies worldwide by introducing single embryo transfers. Our results on parental mental health of twin parents provide further evidence to support this policy," said Dr Unkila Kallio, who is a senior consultant in gynaecology and obstetrics at Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki (Finland).

Dr Unkila Kallio and her colleagues studied ART parents of 91 twins and 367 singletons and control parents of 20 twins and 379 sin
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
34-932-308-810
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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