Reduce Infant Health Risks: Reduce Multiple Embryo IVF Transfers

by Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC on March 18, 2014

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Earlier this week the National Perinatal Association (NPA), which represents the U.S. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) professionals and parents issued a new position statement recommending that IVF clinics only engage in single embryo transfers. In their statement, the NPA recognized that:

Risks linked to ART [assisted reproductive technologies] multiple births resulting from more than one embryo transfer or ovarian induction and hyper stimulation include: higher rates of premature and very premature birth, low and very low birth weight, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, heart conditions, sepsis, perinatal encephalopathy, genetic disorders, stillbirth, extended stay in the NICU, and neonatal death before 28 days. Premature birth carries long-term implications for children’s growth and development, their aptitude for learning and their overall health.

This is consistent with an increase in the medical literature evidencing the risks of IVF and its overuse. Here at the CBC we’ve been saying this for quite some time. The fact that the NPA has recognized the dangers of multiple embryo transfers is good news—both for parents and children conceived through these technologies.

We’ll be doing our part to keep the pressure on IVF clinics to make sure their standards conform to the best practices of medicine, as urged by this new report. Can we count on you to do the same?

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