Preventing multiple births

Doctors say more is not better when it comes to fertility treatments


Couples struggling to get pregnant often turn to reproductive specialists for help. These specialists are now working to reduce the risk of multiple births associated with many planned pregnancies.

Thanks to help from  reproductive medicine, Tatiana Ripalda is the proud mom of an eight-month old baby boy. Choosing to use in vitro fertilization, or IVF, was no easy decision for the 33-year-old.

"I know the complications and I know I was older, not a spring chicken anymore, so and I just didn't want to go through any complications," she said.

New federal numbers show that nearly half of all pregnancies done through advanced fertility are producing multiple births.  While cases like the "Octomom" are rare,  the rate of twin births has barely budged. Instead of being twice as nice, fertility experts say that can be double trouble.

"A lot of times we talk to patients that come in and the first thing that comes out of their mouth is, 'I want two, I want two babies and I can be done. If I'm going to do this why not get two?' Well they really don't know what they're getting into," explained Dr. Marcelo Barrionuevo with IVF FLORIDA.

Fertility experts say implanting two embryo's does not double the chance of having a baby.  They say it only doubles the risk of multiple births, if the pregnancy is successful.

"Any uterus was not created to carry more than one pregnancy," said Barrionuevo. "And if the pregnancy goes on with twins or triplets, those babies will be born prematurely with multiple severe problems."

Ripalda is glad she followed her doctor's advice to implant just one embryo.  She and her husband may try for another baby down the road, but for now, their is all on their son Christian.

"We just want to enjoy him," she said. "He's our blessing."

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says women under the age of 35 should only receive one embryo at a time.  That number rises for older women, since they do have more trouble conceiving.