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Fertility Drugs Contribute Heavily to Multiple Births

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 11:36am
Bio-Medicine.Org

March of Dimes Concerned About Drugs' Role in Crisis of Prematurity

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The widespread use of fertility drugs, not just high-tech laboratory procedures, plays a major role in causing multiple births and  contributes to the problem of premature birth in the United States, experts said today at the March of Dimes National Communications Advisory Council luncheon.

Working with experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Joann Petrini, PhD, assistant director of research at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut and an advisor to the March of Dimes, found that controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) drugs — which are used to stimulate a woman's ovaries to speed the maturity and multiply the production of eggs — account for four times more live births than assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) such as in vitro fertilization. 

"Many people have focused on the role of ARTs in multiples and have not fully appreciated that fertility drugs alone are responsible for one out of every five multiple births," said Dr. Petrini. "There is a very high possibility of multi-fetal pregnancy resulting from these drugs, and that brings a high risk of prematurity and lifelong health problems for the babies as a consequence."

Patients should inform their doctors that their goal is a single baby and that they wish them to use treatments that minimize the risk of multiple pregnancy, said Richard Dickey, MD, PhD, medical director of The Fertility Institute of New Orleans and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics

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