Thursday, July 28, 2005

Should doctors be barred from implanting more than one embryo?

The BBC just broadcast IVF multiple embryo use reviewed in UK. My heart goes out to women who need IVF to conceive as it's horribly costly emotionally and financially. But quoted in the article

"There is now considerable experience from Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Holland where the introduction of single embryo transfer has been associated with a marked reduction in twin pregnancy rates but with no reduction in overall success rates...."

I know there's enormous pressure on infertility clinics in the US to have good fertility stats. Unfortunately having multiples boosts their success stats if you count your fertility rate by each child conceived rather by each pregnancy. Only recently were the transfers of six or seven embryos banned. I think tranferring more embryos than a woman can naturally bear is child abuse.

It makes me wish again that health care was more government regulated here. I know the desire to have a child can be overwhelming. I've been on bedrest. I've had a very difficult birth. I have a baby who had life-threatening medical problems. And I'd do it all over again.

So if I were infertile and had no children, I could see myself signing up to have five or six embryos implanted if someone told me it would increase my odds of having a baby. I'd say I was up for culling if that's what I needed to say. And then I wouldn't do it. That's why we need the government involved. The government steps in to help people who can't make rational decisions. And I can't think of anything less rational than enduring painful expensive procedures to force your body into having an extremely high risk multiple pregnancy where one or more of the babies is likely to die, or have severe medical problems. Understandable, but not rational.

Strangely the people I personally know who have multiples achieved them through IUI, or naturally by being older. However this article makes me wonder if the IUI women didn't conceive multiples, because they were given higher doses of the drugs to increase the clinic's stats.

So I'd vote for the UK to only allow one embryo like the rest of the EU. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

2 comments:

Poets_hand said...

I have a friend who was actually on a national PBS special because she has two sons, both conceived through IVF. Her fertility specialist is a leader in the country because she only implants 2 embryos at a time, and with great success of at least one birth. My friend did this twice, and each time gave birth to a very healthy boy.

So it's very possible to have a successful IVF pregnancy without implanting an outrageous number of embroys.

Thida said...

I also had a friend who had two embryos implanted and gave birth to a healthy baby boy, but it still seems like twin pregnancies are increased risk for both mother and children.