Why IVF Babies Face Greater Risk Of Premature Birth
And what you can do to reduce the risk.
17 July 2017
In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been around for 30 years and is the reason for the happiness of many infertile couples around the world. However, IVF is not without risks.
One important risk with IVF that couples need to understand is that if they are having twins, their babies are 23% more likely to be born early and if they are having singletons, their baby is 50% more likely to be born early as opposed to natural conception.
Understanding the risk and learning to deal with it can reduce the chances of a preterm baby and can help parents make an informed decision about proceeding with IVF. Despite many years of research, the exact reason behind IVF babies being born early hasn't been figured out. Here are 3 possible reasons why IVF babies are born prematurely.
- Women who conceive through IVF tend to be older/have fertility issues. These underlying pre-existing factors could lead to premature births.
- Before beginning IVF treatments, a woman is given a super dose of hormones so as to increase the number of eggs released. These hormonal factors may affect the way embryos implants in the uterus which in turn affects the time of birth.
- When it comes to IVF, multiple embryos are implanted which can result in twins/triplets which are known to be born early than singletons.
And although you can't remove the risk of premature birth by IVF, you can reduce it. Here's how:
- Eat a balanced diet. Avoid high mercury fish, do not smoke, do not drink and stay away from foods and liquids high in sugar.
- Consider implanting a single embryo. We get it, IVF is expensive and it only makes sense to implant multiple embryos. However, you are more likely to carry the baby to term if it's a singleton as opposed to twins or triplets.
- Don't be afraid to use frozen embryos. Studies have shown that fresh embryos have a higher risk of ending up in premature birth as compared to frozen embryos.