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Education improves understanding of risks of having twins -- but does this translate into action?

Parents who wish for IVF twins are often unaware of the risks involved in twin pregnancy and in giving birth to more than one child at a time, a scientist told the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday 21 June 2006. Dr. Ginny Ryan, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA, said that educating potential parents in these risks was essential if problems were to be avoided.

"Along with many infertility specialists, we have been alarmed by the large numbers of twin pregnancies resulting from infertility treatment, and especially IVF", she said. "But we also noted that patients seemed much less concerned by twin pregnancies than we are and, indeed, many desire this outcome."

Dr. Ryan and her team had previously researched infertility patients' wishes for the outcome of pregnancies, and found that desire for multiple births was associated with having no previous children, lower family income, younger patient age, longer duration of fertility and lack of knowledge regarding the risk of having twins. The team decided to evaluate whether improving education on these risks could improve understanding and have an effect on IVF patients' desire for multiple pregnancies.

110 couples took part and completed 2 questionnaires; after the first, which asked, among other things, how many children were desired from a pregnancy, a one page description of the risks of twins to the children and the mother was distributed and discussed. Afterwards, the questionnaire was completed again.

Following discussion of twin risks, significantly more patients ranked singletons as their most desired treatment outcome (86% as opposed to 69% first time round); and significantly fewer chose twins (14%, versus 29% first time round). "On both pre and post-education questionnaires, the most common reason for preferring twins was 'I want
'"/>

Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
322-770-0407
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
21-Jun-2006


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