Multiple births from IVF coming down, figures show

24th May 2011

The number of multiple births resulting from IVF treatment is dropping, according to figures from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Around three in every one hundred natural births will be multiple, statistics show, but for people undergoing IVF treatment the odds leap to between 20 and 40 per cent.

Multiple births present more risk to both mother and children, and can have a higher rate of miscarriage.

But now that number is coming down, figures have shown.

The HFEA said that the figure now sits at 20 per cent and it is set to drop further over time, meaning that IVF treatment will become safer.

This drop has been put down to the increase in doctors using a method called single embryo transfer, where only one egg is implanted into a woman who has a high chance of getting pregnant. Traditionally at least two fertilised eggs have been used.

Professor Lisa Jardine, chair of the HFEA said: "It is excellent news that the number of multiple births is coming down whilst overall success rates for patients are still being maintained. This shows that the policy is proving successful."

A woman in America recently gave birth to two sets of twins through one round of IVF, after both the eggs which had been implanted split.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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