Too Much of a good Thing
As you might have heard, the Gardner quadruplets were delivered yesterday nearly 2 ½ months premature (http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/29/living/feat-ivf-mom-gives-birth-quads/index.html?hpt=hp_c3_ ). While we certainly wish this family the best, babies born before 30 weeks have a tough start and will likely spend several weeks in Neonatal Intensive Care. There has been a lot of publicity surrounding this particular couple’s infertility struggle which culminated in a quadruplet pregnancy after two embryos were transferred and both split during IVF. This is an extremely rare occurrence and hopefully the outcome will still be good for this family.
Having twins after IVF is not a rare occurrence and often leads to similar premature deliveries. These pregnancies aren’t followed by national media outlets because they happen too often. The Gardner’s story should serve to highlight the problem of multiple pregnancy from multiple embryo transfer. In years past, the ability to select which embryo(s) might deliver a healthy baby was poor and in order to compensate, doctors transferred multiple embryos, hoping that at least one might stick. Sometimes, more than one implanted and IVF became synonymous with multiple pregnancy. In recent years, better embryo culture and selection with the help of Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening has made single embryo transfer a viable option. At RMANJ we have transferred one embryo in nearly 2/3 of our IVF cycles in 2014. This means that we have helped reduce the burden of prematurity from twin pregnancies for our families. It also means we have work to do to get that remaining third of our cycles to use one embryo at a time. Our medical and research staff will be working hard throughout 2015 to improve our ability to select and transfer one embryo at a time. We won’t rest until the dream of a single embryo transfer and a single healthy baby becomes a reality for all our patients.