23 April 2012

IVF - Risks to the Babies

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) and other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) often result in multiple prenancy (twins, triplets and quadruplets).

Multiple pregnancy often ends in preterm delivery and low birth weight (LBW).

Rate of Premature delivery/LBW
Twins  50%
Triplets  90%

Mortality and morbidity
25 weeks – 50% mortality; 25% severe disability.
30 weeks – 10% mortality.

Perinatal death risk (compared to singleton)
Twins  4
Triplets  7

Cerebral palsy (compared to singleton)
Twins  5
Triplets  18

The UK Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) restricted the number of embryos that can be transferred in IVF to a maximum of two (with some exceptions). There are no regulations in Malta.

Before embarking on IVF, couples should be counselled about the higher risk of death and neuorological problems in these circumstances. Moreover, IVF in Malta should be regulated by legislation to restrict the number of embryoes that can be transferred.