Archive for May, 2012
By: Dr. Avner Hershlag; Chief, Center for Human Reproduction
We should all be very disturbed by the World Health Organization report that 15 million babies are born prematurely each year in the United States (“U.S. Lags in Global Measure of Premature Births,” May 3, 2012) – a rate of one-in-nine births that is on par with Kenya and other third-world countries.
The rhetoric that healthcare in America is the best in the world just got a new reality check. How can we fix it? Twins, triplets and other multiple births result largely from fertility treatment. To fix this, three things must happen:
1. Fertility doctors need to encourage patients to have single embryo transfers when embryo quality is good — this is already common practice in Europe.
2. The mentality of, “the more, the merrier,” needs to end since the preemie picture is far from merry… And physicians must inform patients of the risks, even of twins, and the full picture of a “two-for-one” deal.
3. All insurance companies should cover IVF, which is more controlled than giving fertility drugs without IVF, and reward programs for reducing multiples. This will pay off in the long run, since preemie care is incredibly expensive.
Do you feel patients are properly informed of the risks of multiples?