Patients Push Fertility Docs for Extra Embryos

Though hazardous, many parents take the risk to up their odds of having kids
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 12, 2009 2:40 PM CST
Professional guidelines limit doctors on the number of embryos they can plant, but one-third of in vitro cases still result in twins or more.   (AP Photo/Hackensack University Medical Center)
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(Newser) – While Nadya Suleman's octuplets remain the in vitro exception, about 30% of such procedures result in multiple births. One attempt can cost $12,000, so patients regularly implore docs to up their pregnancy chances by planting multiple embryos—even though medical guidelines push for the transfer of no more than two in women under 35, the New York Times reports.

In their desperation, would-be parents gloss over the risks of multiple births—including infant mortality, low birth weights, long-term disability, and high medical costs—and such guidelines lack legal bite and have little effect on the fiercely competitive clinics. Still, as fertility methods have improved over the last decade, multiple births have become less common. “I don’t think any doctor would try to make a multiple pregnancy," a fertility doc defends.