World IVF Day 2022: Why couples who undergo IVF should not opt for twins

Jul 26, 2022

World IVF Day 2022: IVF is never the first option for couples undergoing infertility. It is only when conception is delayed for a few years and they have seen multiple failures at trying naturally or miscarriage or IUI failure that they begin to consider IVF. By this time anxiety and desperation levels for the couple is skyrocketing and so is the cost of treatment. The couple finds it attractive to go for multiple embryo transfers and take a chance of having twins. Who doesn’t want a 1+1 offer? Especially in this case where the infertility treatments cumulatively cost somewhere around two to five lakh rupees. Also, the couple’s age is usually on the higher side and going through all the process again to try for a second baby surely looks challenging. So, having twins is truly a blessing but is it true?

Though twin IVF pregnancy is a popular choice in India there is a flip side to it.  Preeti Sood(28-year-old homemaker from Gurugram), a member of the Fertility Dost community had to undergo IVF due to blocked fallopian tubes. After four failed cycles of IVF, on the fifth IVF attempt, she conceived twins and later had a miscarriage on 24th week. “It was the worst feeling of my life seeing my two babies not survive more than a few hours”, she recounts with moist eyes. Finally, she chose adoption. Today when she looks back and thinks about her IVF journey, she regrets not trying one embryo transfer.

Premature delivery, miscarriage, embryo growth issues, reduction of one baby at a later stage (one baby stops growing inside uterus and threatens the growth of another so couple has to take a conscious decision to terminate one), hypertension, diabetes mellitus and respiratory distress syndrome are some of the complications often seen with twin pregnancy. IVF pregnancy are already high risk and to add multiple embryos leading to twin pregnancy makes the pregnancy quite complicated.

Recently, Megha & Rajan (a couple from Bengaluru working as software engineers) were pregnant with twins through IVF after a six years of tumultuous journey with infertility. They were over the moon but their joy was short-lived. Towards the end of the first trimester itself there were complications and doctors asked permission to reduce one baby. They couldn’t take the decision timely and had a miscarriage losing both the babies and Megha was brought back from dead by doctors. She is fighting depression now.

In India, there is no specific guidelines by ICMR on embryo transfer. Doctors can transfer up to 3 embryos in each cycle. The desperate need of having a baby,  clouds a patient mind and they don’t think about the risks involved in twin pregnancy. I am not saying that all that twin pregnancy isn’t possible or doable but you must be prepared and mindful of the risks, assess your medical situation and then take an informed decision. Remember not only the babies but the mother carrying them might be at risk too.

There are many myths surrounding IVF due to a lack of awareness about reproductive health and the biggest one is that IVF conceptions are mostly twins. In fact, most patients (undergoing IVF) will force the doctor to do multiple embryo transfers and ensure twin pregnancy. During my second IVF cycle, the doctor gave me a choice of multiple embryo transfer and I declined. I knew my body couldn’t take it after 5 miscarriages, a brush with ovarian cancer and a failed IUI and IVF. I told the doctor to do whatever it takes but give me one healthy baby. That's it.

This World IVF Day, I would urge you to take an informed decision about IVF and not be blown away by blind optimism and Bollywood fantasy.


(This article is attributed to Gitanjali Banerjee, Founder of Fertility Dost)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of )