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Twins with IVF: An Overview

April 4, 2024

IVF is a blessing for those patients who are unable to conceive naturally. Whenever a couple is going for IVF, the first question that comes to their mind is, what are the chances of having twins? Therefore, in this blog, we will discuss twins in detail.

Book an Appointment with Dr. Astha Gupta for all your Fertility concerns.

Types of Twins

There are two types of twins. Dizygotic twins occur when two different sperm fertilise two separate eggs. Monozygotic or identical twins occur when a fertilised egg splits to form two embryos, which develop into two babies. Therefore, both children have the same sex and genetic characteristics.

What are the Benefits of Having Twins?

Having two babies together in one single pregnancy is the most common advantage of twin pregnancy. Patients who go for IVF usually have long married life and advanced age. They usually have multiple treatment failures. So, having twins complete their family in one go.

IVF is a costly procedure, and having two babies in a single cycle of IVF avoids expenditure on the next cycle.

Risks Associated with Twin Pregnancy

Twin pregnancy is considered a side effect of IVF, as multiple pregnancies are risky for both the mother and the baby.

A female who is carrying a twin pregnancy is at higher risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy, which can severely affect both the mother and baby. There is a higher chance of caesarean delivery and bleeding post-delivery in twin pregnancies. A twin pregnancy is also a risk of premature delivery, low birth weight, and intrauterine growth restriction.

The chances of having twins through IVF

IVF pregnancy has higher chances of twins than natural pregnancy. The rate of twins in IVF pregnancy is approximately 25-30%. This depends on several factors, such as the number of embryos transferred, the age of the woman, and the quality of the embryos.

Number of Embryos Transferred: The most important factor determining the chance of twins in IVF is the number of embryos transferred. Multiple embryos are usually transferred in IVF to increase the chances of successful pregnancy, which increases the risk of multiple births (twins, triplets).

Age of the Woman: Younger women, especially those under 35, have better-quality eggs and embryos. So, when multiple good-quality embryos are transferred, there is a fair chance that multiple embryos stick to the uterus leading to twins and triplets. However, in women of advanced age, the quality and quantity of eggs deteriorate and the chances of twins is less.

Clinical Practices and Protocols: Different clinics have different protocols for the number of embryos to be transferred depending on their success rates, the history and age of the patient, and the quality of the embryos.

Splitting of a Single Embryo: Rarely, even when one embryo is transferred, it can split, leading to identical twins.

Can Twins be Avoided?

Many couples who already have a child do not wish to have a twin pregnancy. They have been inhibited from doing IVF because of this fear. So, they often ask their fertility doctor if they can avoid twins. The answer is yes.

  • Elective Single Embryo Transfer (SET): Transferring only one good-quality embryo reduces the chances of twin pregnancy. You can discuss this with your doctor.
  • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT): This helps to select one genetically healthy embryo and reduces the probability of twins

The goal of an IVF pregnancy is a healthy baby and a happy mother. So, discuss with your doctor about risks and probability of multiple pregnancies.

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