Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Multiple Births Dilemma: Newsweek "My Turn"

With increased fertility treatments, the U.S. birthrate of twins has more than doubled in the past 30 years and the number of triplets has increased significantly. Parents often face a horrific decision.

Somewhat overlooked, are the surges of neonatal deaths, developmental disabilities, as well as other long-term problems. (I have described the consequences of delayed childbearing in several previous blog posts.)

Mark Evans, an Obstetrician and medical geneticist, described the procedure known as selective reduction in a recent Newsweek, My Turn. "This is accomplished - usually at 3 months gestation - by reducing the number of fetuses down to a manageable number, usually two."

What does selective reduction accomplish? A woman who is pregnant with quadruplets, has a 25% chance of losing all of her babies, but she can decrease the loss rate to about 5% by reducing to twins.

Question: How would you and your spouse respond to your doctor if he/she recommended selective reduction?