The world’s first birth after in vitro fertilization (IVF) turned 38 years old this past Monday– Louise Brown was born at Oldham General Hospital in England on July, 25 1978. Making it a family affair, her sister Natalie Brown was born four years later and was the world’s fortieth IVF baby. These “medical miracles” were made possible by scientific breakthroughs which would result in a Nobel Prize and over 5 million babies world-wide.
The early years of IVF presented to great challenges. Success rates were exceedingly low which caused doctors and patients to try and “beat the odds” by placing back
When looking across all age groups, the odds of having a multiple gestation pregnancy through IVF is roughly 30 percent, with the large majority of those being twin pregnancies. Your odds are primarily based on the number of embryos transferred and the patient’s age. Traditionally, to overcome lower rates of implantation from an individual embryo, multiple embryos would be transferred back, which resulted in a high rate of multiple births. While there’s a strong recommendation by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) for single embryo transfer in a good prognosis patient (the only effective means to avoid multiples), not
2 liters of normal saline.
Over the past 2 years or so, I have managed my patients through roughly 400 IVF cycles, and 2 liters of intravenous (IV) normal saline is the grand sum total of the treatment required for that much-feared complication of IVF: ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). 2 liters: That’s the size of one of those Coke bottles you buy at the supermarket for a party.
Just 5 years ago it was a much different story. IVF patients with OHSS frequently received multiple infusions of intravenous fluids, they were given a variety of other medications to try to stave off
I often get asked about the risks of fertility treatments such as IVF. In fact, I am obligated to discuss them before my patients start IVF treatment.
Does ICSI cause birth defects? Does ovarian stimulation cause breast cancer? Does embryo biopsy hurt the embryo? Will these injections make me crazy? Will I gain weight?
These are all very important questions that I spend a significant amount of time discussing every day. But while it’s very reasonable to carefully consider the risks of any potential treatment, at least as much consideration should be given to the benefits.
For example, while some studies have shown
A recent study has been receiving a significant amount of media attention due to the reported link between autism and children born via IVF. A recent newspaper article warned, “Children conceived via IVF have double the autism rates of others: study” http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/kids-conceived-ivf-double-autism-rates-study-article-1.2163153.
However, the headline of this story is quite deceiving given that the second sentence of the article highlights that researchers found no direct link between IVF and autism.
As practitioners dedicated to the science of assisted reproduction technologies (ART),it is critical that when looking at associations and causes of such a sensitive condition as autism that we do so with
“Where you stand depends on where you sit.” These words could not be truer for couples undergoing IVF treatments. Some of these couples will have the opportunity to transfer one embryo (single embryo transfer, or SET) or two in what becomes one of the most important decisions of their entire treatment. For many, there will be a significant temptation to have two embryos implanted. This based on a desire to maximize the chances of at least one child, or to “get two pregnancies over with” at once. However, there is one person who will be the most interested in a