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Twins in Demand Through IVF?

Despite some couples' desires, doctors counsel against trying for twins through in vitro fertilization.

Education the Key? continued...

Gifford and Glass can relate to that. Both say that before having their twins, they had wanted their IVF doctors to transfer three embryos in the hopes of at least having one baby -- and they're glad their doctors refused.

"There's times when people say, 'Put 'em all in, I'm tired, this is my last shot.' And they're there to keep you from doing things like that," Gifford says.

Muasher, an IVF specialist for nearly 30 years, says he's seen a shift over the years as patients become more aware about the risks of triplets and higher-order multiples -- but not twins.

"You don't get much argument when you talk to them about triplets. Twinning ... they still see that as a desirable thing," Muasher says.

The CDC reports that the twin birth rate climbed 70% between 1980 and 2004, but leveled off between 2005 and 2006 at a rate of 32.1 twins per 1,000 U.S. births.

"I get that all the time when I'm out -- 'Oh, I wish I had twins, I hope I have twins.' Be careful. It's not easy. You wouldn't change it, but it's no joke," Glass says.

Glass says the first year with her twins was "really, really difficult," even though the twins were healthy.

That sounds familiar to John Moore, MD, FAAP, chief of pediatrics at the Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va.

Moore, who follows research on twins and multiples, is the father of healthy twin girls who will turn 5 this summer. He notes that even healthy, full-term twins are still stressful for parents.

"It's a lot harder than people like to think it is," says Moore.

"People need to realize that when the babies are born, that's kind of the beginning of the process with multiples, not the end," says Moore. "Twins can be fun. There's nothing better than coming in at the end of the day and having two children jump on you at the same time. By the same token, there's nothing worse than having crying in stereo."

Reviewed on March 25, 2009

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