If you and your spouse or partner experience difficulties getting pregnant, you may begin considering assisted reproductive technology as a way to solve your problems and give you the child you so desperately long for. While there is no doubt that ART effectively treats infertility in many couples and makes pregnancy possible for women who otherwise might never have a child, these procedures and the resulting pregnancies, however, are not without risk.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists itself warns that numerous major risks are, in fact, associated with ART.
According to the ACOG, multifetal gestation represents your number one risk after undergoing ART. Twins, triplets and even higher numbers of fetuses are not at all uncommon. This, in turn, substantially increases the risk that you and your growing fetuses may face multiple problems, both during your pregnancy and immediately after the birth of your of your babies.
Some of the most serious problems include the following:
- Birth defects
- Premature births
- Low birth weights
- Perinatal mortality
- Pregnancy emergencies, such as placenta previa, placental abruption and preeclampsia
As terrible as it sounds, some medical professionals even recommend multifetal pregnancy reduction if you carry three or more fetuses.
The much better option, however, is to prevent multiple gestations from occurring in the first place if at all possible. This includes undergoing a complete and thorough physical examination before attempting any type of ART. You need to be in top physical health.
In addition, you and your health care provider should address any inherited conditions you have, such as heart disease or diabetes, plus if twins or other multiple births run in your family. If so, ART may not be for you.