Multiple births: The Octomom debate
"The `blessing' of twins and triplets has turned out to be a `poisoned gift'..."
Reproductive technologies, including the use of fertility drugs and in vitro fertilization (IVF), are responsible for creating an epidemic of multiple pregnancies. In IVF, multiples are the direct result of the number of embryos transferred into the patients' womb.
The debate over the issue has heightened by the recent delivery of octuplets by a California woman, single and unemployed, who already had 6 kids from IVF and her doctor transferred 6 embryos into her womb.
Here are some of the multiple issues to discuss about multiple pregnancies (MP):
o Has reproductive science become "too successful?"
o What are the obstetrical complications of MP?
o Is the mother at an increased risk?
o what is the risk to the babies?
o How premature can multiples be? And how sick?
o Once a preemie is out of the NICU — what are his chances of long tem illness?
o What are the psychological ramifications to parents and children of MP?
o What about hospital costs? (see fact sheet)
o Ok. So having 8 is bad... but what about twins? Isn't it great for fertility patients to end up with twins? Kind of a "two-for-one" deal in a bad economy?"
o Is it true that many of us had a twin in utero? What is the vanishing twin phenomenon?
o Many countries in Europe have laws prohibiting the transfer of more than 1 embryo at a time. why shouldn't we have this law in the US?
o OK. If not the law, who should determine how many embryos to put back? Strict professional society guideline? The doctor? The patient? (paternalistic vs. autonomous approach).
o How can we reduce MP rates?