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Multiple Birth After IVF Increases Woman's Chance of Depression, Dissatisfaction With Fertility Treatment, Study Says

October 17, 2003

Women who deliver multiple infants after undergoing in vitro fertilization are more likely to experience depression than women who give birth to a single infant following IVF treatment, according to study results released on Wednesday at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine conference in San Antonio, London's Independent reports (Frith, Independent, 10/16). Approximately 20% to 40% of women who give birth after undergoing IVF have multiple births, according to BBC News. Multiple births are more likely to result in a wide range of complications, including premature birth, low birthweight and birth defects (BBC News, 10/16). Marcia Ellison of Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues interviewed 300 women who gave birth to multiple infants after IVF and 128 women who had single births after undergoing IVF. All the women interviewed were wealthy enough to adequately care for more than one child at a time and were of a "high socio-economical status," according to the Independent. According to the researchers, the women who had multiple births were significantly more likely to be depressed and be less satisfied with their spouses and home life than women who gave birth to a single infant. According to Ellison, women who had multiple births were also more likely to have negative feelings about their decision to undergo IVF. "The results [of the study] indicate that multiple births result in significant social risks which compounds previously recognized medical risks," Ellison said (Independent, 10/16). Some experts have suggested implanting only one embryo in the uterus during IVF as a way to reduce the number of multiple births, according to BBC News. Some studies have shown that implanting more than one embryo during IVF raises a woman's risk of multiple pregnancy but does not increase her chance of having a successful pregnancy, according to BBC News (BBC News, 10/16).

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