Skip to main content
Search
Services
HEALTH

Doctors say single-embryo implants safer

Europeans say multiple births are much riskier

By Katrina Woznicki
MedPage Today

HEALTH LIBRARY

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

Reproduction
Research

(MedPage Today) -- Assisted reproduction, in least in Europe, may be moving closer to the era of one-at-a-time babies.

European doctors indicated in reports to the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology that implanting infertile women with multiple embryos is too likely to result in multiple births.

Doctors said a multiple birth -- even of twins -- is far more risky than a singleton birth.

The consensus: A single-embryo transfer may be better for both mother and baby.

Among the results of the studies:

  • The gestational ages and risks of low birth weight were nearly identical between single babies born from a conception and babies born from a fertility treatment single-embryo transfer.
  • Babies born from single-embryo transfer as healthy as babies of conception

  • The expense of multiple pregnancies was significantly higher. Triplets had eight times the price tag of single infants and twins cost three times more.
  • Multiple pregnancies bear hefty price tags

  • Even when one baby was born after a multiple-embryo transfer, single infants whose twin had died during pregnancy had an elevated risk of neurological problems and death. The study's authors said their findings indicate younger women undergoing fertility treatments may reduce the risks of such poor outcomes if clinicians implanted one embryo instead of two.
  • Bigger risk for single babies who lose IVF twin

    The doctors in Europe, where assisted reproduction is usually covered by socialized medical systems, did not get into the issue of the price of a single assisted reproduction cycle, which is a major factor in the United States(often $10,000). Also, if a single embryo does not result in a pregnancy, the woman is that much older on the next try.

    Genes and heredity

    In other research, scientists reported a possible explanation for why some women over 45 are able to conceive easily. It's in their genes. A study of blood samples taken from eight such women found they had unique genetic profiles that appeared to reduce ovarian aging and extend fertility well into middle age.

    Middle-age fertility may be in the genes

    Another research team found heredity might be to blame for polycystic ovarian syndrome, a common cause of infertility. A study of 414 daughters and their mothers found excess maternal weight and reduced fetal and placental growth during pregnancy may put the daughter at a greater risk for the metabolic disorder.

    Polycystic ovary syndrome linked to gestational development

    And finally, a team of scientists found another use for embryonic stem cells. They were able to grow a type of cell line called primordial germ cells from these immature stem cells, which could then be used to create sperm and eggs. These lab-grown sperm and eggs, they said, could help treat infertile couples.

    Stem cells could be source for sperm and eggs

    Story Tools
    Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
    Top Stories
    Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
    CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
    Top Stories
    Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
    CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
    Search
    © 2007 Cable News Network.
    A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
    Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
    Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
    Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines