The Medical Risks and Costs of Twins, Triplets And Beyond

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Twins have greater health risks than single births. Credit: mharvey75, Flickr

A twin pregnancy is a great thing: You get two babies with only one round of morning sickness, weight gain, swollen ankles and childbirth. That's how many women see it.

But twin, triplet and other multiple pregnancies come with an increased risk of premature birth, health problems, learning disabilities and other complications, not to mention the high financial cost of treating these moms and babies. And according to a report in The New York Times, doctors are now trying to curtail the increase in premature births spurred on by fertility treatments.In fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine is releasing new guidelines next week, at the group's annual meeting in Atlanta, to help doctors figure out how to minimize the transfer of excess embryos in women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

At issue, according to the paper: Hopeful parents-to-be are often footing the hefty IVF bill themselves, and want to increase their odds of a successful pregnancy. Doctors, on the other hand, want to raise their success rate, to lure in more patients. The result? More than one embryo is implanted.

In any case, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, for many women under age 35, transferring more than one embryo doesn't increase their chances of pregnancy -- it only raises their odds of having two or more babies.

Related: More on Multiples

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