Not Your Mother’s IVF: Making Fertility Care Safer and Successful

Over the past 25 years, IVF — the technology, the science, the success rates, the process — has dramatically changed. Yet physicians and patients who are facing infertility are not letting go of older techniques and are often taking on unnecessary risks in pursuit of starting a family.

Today’s infertility patients are overwhelmed with information from unwanted advice to Dr. Google; they struggle to find the right doctors, programs and treatments to help them overcome their individual medical and health challenges. By the time they reach a reproductive specialist, they are often feel dazed and vulnerable and resort to techniques they have heard worked in the past. It’s understandable given the stress of the situation, but this approach ultimately increases their risk of complications and compromises their chance of success.

One of the primary complications from fertility treatments is multiple gestations and deliveries — twins or more. I love kids and have a few of my own but despite what we see in the media, one healthy baby at a time is the ultimate goal of our field of medicine. In fact, when it comes to IVF, success should never be defined as “getting pregnant,” it should only be defined as the delivery of ONE healthy baby.

Since beginning my career in the late ’80s, working alongside U.S. IVF pioneers Georgeanna and Howard Jones, I have watched science and innovation lead to increased IVF delivery rates, but at what cost?

While fertility treatments are responsible for less than 2 percent of all deliveries in the U.S., they account for nearly 20 percent of all multiple deliveries. Those multiples come with substantial health risks to mother and child including 7 times the risk of extreme prematurity, 4 times the risk of a NICU admission, double the risk —> Read More