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Fertility doctors are now aiming for one child at a time

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While large multiple births have gone down since the days of Kate Gosselin and “Octomom” Nadya Suleman in the past five years, twin births have been rising at alarming rates. This has caused a lot of concern among doctors who note that twins are 37% more likely to be premature, resulting in serious health issues.

As a result, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has updated its guidelines recommending that “women under 35 year of age with reasonable medical odds of success” be implanted with only one embryo at a time, but “never more than two.” The number, however, goes up for those over 40 to 2 or 3 embryos since they often have a harder time conceiving.

Still, Barbara Collura, president of the support and advocacy group Resolve states that many couples “are telling their physicians they want twins. While some, who can only afford one in vitro fertilization treatment (which can run as high as) think it is a way to get ‘two babies for the price of one,’ most simply have no idea about the increased medical risks multiple births have for both mom and babies.”

Multiple births also increase in the number of c-sections and can result in longer hospital stays following deliver.

In fact, a recent study published in the Nov. 11 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reports that the average health care costs (including medical expenses during the 27 weeks prior to, and up to 30 days after giving birth) were “well over $400,000 for triplets +, $105,000 for twins and $21,000 for single babies.”

“That means that the costs for triplets or more were 20 times higher than for singletons. The costs included medical expenses during the 27 weeks before and up to 30 days after delivery, stated lead researcher Dongmu Zhang.

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