The American Pregnancy Association suggests that women under the age of 35 who have been trying to conceive for over a year, or women over the age of 35 who have been trying to conceive for more than six months see a fertility doctor to determine what may be causing a couple to not successfully become pregnant. After thorough testing to determine where the cause of infertility may lie and what treatments may be useful to increase the chances of getting pregnant, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be recommended. Can you have twins with IVF and if so, how common is it?
What Is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
In vitro fertilization is typically used after other types of fertility treatments because it’s more invasive. Many fertility doctors will suggest ovulation induction and/or intrauterine insemination (IUI) first and only recommend IVF if those treatments are unsuccessful.
Essentially, in vitro fertilization involves harvesting a number of healthy eggs from a woman and sperm from a man and fertilizing the eggs in a sterile environment outside the body. Daily care and monitoring is done and eggs that have not successfully become fertilized are not used. Typically, cleaved embryos (day 3 after fertilization) or blastocysts (day 5 after fertilization) are used during embryo transfer. This involves placing the embryos inside the woman’s uterus, where one or more will ideally implant. Sometimes, the embryos do not implant, so placing more than one increases the chances of pregnancy. However, it also increases the chances of multiple births, like twins and triplets. Many IVF doctors will only place a single blastocyst, but more than one cleaved embryo may be placed.
How Common Are Twins?
The CDC reports that the rate of multiple births has increased by 76% since 1980. Multiple births between 1915 and the 1970s were at about 2% of all pregnancies, so the rise in multiples has been surprising. This is partly due to the increase in fertility treatments, however, any other probable contributing factors have yet to be identified.
Some couples who desire multiple pregnancies will seek out in vitro fertilization as a tool, however, many fertility doctors do not recommend this. Although the chances of having twins or triplets do increase with IVF procedures, the fact remains that multiple pregnancies have significant risks. Twins and triplets are harder on the mother during pregnancy, and multiple births are much more complex than a single birth. It’s important to discuss with your fertility doctor the chances of multiple pregnancies and how the situation should be handled. Your doctor may recommend specific treatments, such as blastocyst transfer, to reduce risk.
At New York Reproductive Wellness, we specialize in infertility treatments and can help you achieve the goal of growing your family. Call today for an appointment at (516) 605-2626.