Increased Complications Found in Reduced Pregnancies

Study adds another reason to limit number of embryos transferred during assisted reproduction

FRIDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Twins born after the reduction of fetuses from a high-order multiple pregnancy are more likely to be born prematurely and to weigh less at birth than twins born without fetal reduction, although the impact of both outcomes is "relatively small," according to a study published in the July issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Chong-U Cheang, M.D., of the Kiang Wu Hospital in Macau, China, and colleagues studied 742 in vitro fertilization pregnancies, including 353 with twins born after fetal reduction and 389 with twins without fetal reduction.

The incidence of extremely premature birth (less than 28 weeks) was 4.5 percent in the reduced group and 1.8 percent in the non-reduced group. Incidence of premature birth (less than 36 weeks) was 41.1 percent in the reduced group and 32.7 percent in the non-reduced group. The birth weight of twins born after reduction was found to be inversely related to the number of fetuses present before reduction.

"At the present time, we regard selective fetal reduction as a clinically necessary procedure to prevent the complications of high-order multiple pregnancies," the authors concluded. "However, the best way to prevent the complications associated with multiple pregnancies in assisted reproductive techniques may be achieved, first and foremost, by limiting the number of embryos transferred."

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