USC Fertility


The Health Risks of High-Order Multiple Births Caused by Fertility Treatment

Multiple pregnancies as a result of fertility treatment have similar complication rates to multiple pregnancies conceived spontaneously.

Preterm labor is the most common complication in multiple pregnancies. Up to 70% of women carrying twins will deliver early and close to 100% of high order multiples will deliver early.

Carrying a multiple pregnancy can cause complications for the mother, including high blood pressure, diabetes of pregnancy, and placental abruption, all of which can necessitate early delivery.

Multiple pregnancies can be complicated by intrauterine growth restriction, twin-twin transfusion syndrome, postpartum hemorrhage, and birth defects.

Any complication in pregnancy can not only necessitate preterm delivery but may have lasting impacts for the children. Babies born prematurely are often admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit for an extended period of time and can suffer from respiratory distress syndrome, irregular breathing, infection, internal brain hemorrhages, blindness, and gastrointestinal and feeding issues. The risk of complications for the baby goes up the earlier the baby is born.

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