One-embryo limit would save money, lives: study

If women undergoing fertility treatment were limited to one embryo transfer at a time, lives and money would be saved due to fewer complications from multiple births, Canadian doctors said Thursday.

"Across Canada, there would be as many as 840 fewer babies admitted to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), 40 deaths avoided, 46 fewer brain injuries, and 42,400 fewer days of NICU hospitalization," said Keith Barrington, lead author of the study in the US Journal of Pediatrics.

Each day a baby spends in the NICU costs about $1,000, meaning some $42.4 million could be saved per year by restricting embryo transfers, according to the data compiled by doctors at the University of Montreal.

Women and couples who are having trouble getting pregnant often opt for in vitro fertilization (IVF), which involves combining the egg and sperm outside the womb and then implanting the fertilized embryo in the woman's uterus.

Patients may opt for multiple embryo transfers in the hopes it will increase their chances of getting pregnant, and to cut back on the number of times the costly procedure - usually between $10,000 and $15,000 - is performed.

But Montreal researchers decided to examine records from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Quebec and see what the impact of IVF had been on creating twins, triplets and other multiples.

Last year, Quebec established a new policy that the government of the francophone province would pay for three cycles of IVF for people seeking it, but set a mandate of one embryo transfer at a time.

The Montreal doctors' study predates that policy, looking back at records from 2005 to 2007.

During that period, 17 percent of babies sent to the NICU - a total of 82 infants - were from multiple births resulting from fertility treatment. Seventy-five were from specifically IVF transfer of multiple embryos.

"Among these 75 babies, there were six deaths, five babies who developed a brain bleed, and four babies who developed a potentially blinding eye condition," said Barrington, a doctor at the University of Montreal.

If the rest of Canada were to follow the same one-embryo policy as Quebec, multiple birth rates and their complications could be drastically cut, the study argued, recommending that any regulation be accompanied by a policy of reimbursement for any additional costs to the parents-to-be.

"Since July 2010, all of the fertility centers in Quebec have adopted this approach, and preliminary results show that twin gestation rates have dropped from 30 percent to 3.8 percent," Barrington said.

Similar policy in the United States would result in even more benefits, because US doctors performed 20 times as many IVF procedures as in Canada in 2008, the study said.

One percent of births in the United States are a result of IVF, which results in 16 percent of twin births and 38 percent of triplets.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

    £35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her