Infertility experts generally try to prevent multiple births because of the myriad potential health problems for mother and babies and because such births consume enormous financial resources for hospitals, health insurers and families.
Higher-order multiples are always born prematurely, often before 30 weeks gestation. Such babies are at risk of respiratory distress, infection and damage to their other organs, particularly the brain and gut. Premature infants have a higher rate of death in the first month of life than babies born full-term. Later, these babies are at higher risk for developmental problems and cerebral palsy.
“I hope they do well,” Swamy said. “But often in the first day or two you don’t see all the significant risks or complications that occur yet. You’re looking at an average stay in intensive care of one month to six months depending on how they do. They are obviously not going to be feeding and growing in the same rate or manner that a singleton can.”
Diaz added, “As the technology has evolved and we’ve had more success in the ability to develop embryos in the lab, we’ve become more careful and more conscientious that these births can occur.
“Most reproductive endocrinologists are very consistent in trying to avoid these kinds of pregnancies.”