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Spanish researchers have found that when twin pregnancies are created by In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the stronger embryo actually helps the weaker one survive. There is a higher live birth weight from IVF when there are twin pregnancies.
The objective of this controversial study was to estimate why the live birth rate per implanted embryo is higher in twin versus single pregnancies. The Spanish scientists published a report in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology where they uncovered that there is an increased live birth rate in twin pregnancies from embryo assistance. The overall rate of survival to birth per embryo was around 80% in the twin pregnancies compared to 75% when women were carrying only one child. twins_support.jpg

Apparently, the feeble embryos that would fail on their own actually survive when supported by a stronger twin. This is the concept of “embryo assistance”, a term the researchers use to explain the higher live birth rates in the twin pregnancies. Only around one percent of U.S. births come from IVF but this technique is responsible for about 15 percent of twin births.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine suggests that only two embryos be implanted into a woman under the age of thirty-five and doctors should consider only using one. With this new research, they may change their minds. This new study was based on information from over 1, 150 single and over 500 twin pregnancies. None of these resulted in identical twins where the fertilized egg splits and develops into 2 embryos.

The doctors often implant more than one embryo to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy, particularly in the U.S. Clinics have been cutting back on the number of embryos used because of the risk that multiple pregnancies carry to the fetuses. Apparently, it was previously thought that when there is more than one embryo, the survival rate went down.
Now, thanks to this new medical information, doctors can justify implanting two rather than one embryo.


Lead by head researcher Dr. Fernando Miro of the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, this important study concluded that the higher live birth rate occurring in the twin pregnancies is directly related to the assistance of a strong twin and the effect was more pronounced in older mothers.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics released new data regarding the increase of twin births that has occurred in America over the last thirty years. In 2009, one in every thirty babies born was a twin. This was compared to one in every fifty in 1980. Also, twin birth rates rose by nearly one-hundred percent among women age 35 to 39 and more than two-hundred percent for women over 40.

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