The Power of One! Laura Londra MD, FACOG
I have found that an increasing number of couples here in Ohio have become aware of the risks of transferring multiple embryos. While having twins can be wonderful for the parents in many ways, it is important to remember that “the more the merrier” does always hold true in the case of babies. The link below is to some educational materials on the topic from the CDC. It is important to remember that “twins” or “multiples” create an environment where the baby has to grow and develop in half the space. In other words, would you put multiple children to sleep in one bed and eat from one plate if you could give each their own? Probably not!
Of course for some women it might be reasonable to transfer more than one embryo, simply because based on maternal age, previous reproductive history, and quality of the embryos, the risk of more than one to implant might be low for that particular woman. Still, as numbers show in the statistics from our National IVF Registry, more often than not, pregnancy occurs as an ‘all or nothing’ phenomenon. When the uterus is receptive and the embryo is synchronized and ready to implant, implantation happens for all of the embryos that are transferred. And that bring us back to the topic: remember the power of one!
As a physician, I often feel that the concept of being born prematurely or with low birth weight is not fully appreciated by the general public. These children have been under developmental stress in the uterus, which means that some organs do not develop as fully as they should. Later on, they can ‘catch up’, but when certain biologic events do not happen at the right time, those organs do not recover full function. Extremely premature babies can thus have a lifetime of lung problems, learning disabilities, and growth issues. Even cardiovascular problems in adulthood had been linked to intrauterine developmental stress (You can read more about this by looking up the “Barker hypothesis”, which is based on the work of a British epidemiologist who studied adults born with low birth weight).