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Preterm births, multiples, and fertility treatment
Date:4/16/2014

While it is well known that fertility treatments are the leading cause of increases in multiple gestations and that multiples are at elevated risk of premature birth, these results are not inevitable, concludes an article in Fertility and Sterility. The article identifies six changes in policy and practice that can reduce the odds of multiple births and prematurity, including expanding insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and improving doctor-patient communications about the risks associated with twins.

Financial pressures provide a powerful incentive for patients and doctors to choose fertility treatments that increase the odds of multiple births and, therefore, also prematurity, according the article. Research has shown that 11 percent of twins and 36 percent of triplets are born very preterm (less than 32 weeks' gestation), compared with just 2 percent of singletons. Preterm birth places babies at increased risk of death, neurological disabilities and other health problems, and it costs the U.S. health care system more than $26 billion per year.

The conclusions and recommendations in the article are based on a project by researchers at The Hastings Center and Yale School of Medicine. The project examined the causes and consequences of multiple births after fertility treatment and included a workshop with clinicians, leaders from professional associations, patient advocates, and insurance industry representatives. The project was led by the authors: Josephine Johnston, a research scholar and director of research at The Hastings Center; Michael K. Gusmano, a Hastings Center research scholar; and

Contact: Susan Gilbert
gilberts@thehastingscenter.org
845-424-4040 x244
The Hastings Center
Source:Eurekalert

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