Fertility doctor Dr. Michael Kamrava, who treated infamous Octomom Nadya Suleman, is undergoing formal review this week to determine if he exhibited gross negligence in his treatment of Suleman along with two other IVF patients. He stands at risk of losing his medical license.
The high-profile hearing is stirring the pot over once again over the likelihood of multiple births through IVF treatment.
I have mixed feelings about what the Octomom controversy has done for the IVF-multiples connection in the eyes of the world. On one hand, I cringe because it perpetuates the perception that IVF patients are highly likely to have twins, triplets or more.
(Admit it¦ how many times have you speculated that your friend, family member, coworker, etc who announced they are expecting twins must have gone through IVF?)
And let’s face it: the families who’ve reached celebrity status as a result of their super-sized families haven’t helped. (Here’s looking at you, Kate Gosselin.) They become fodder for headlines and television interviews with resident medical experts opining on the risks of health complications for the mother as well as the babies, including the increased chance of birth defects. All true.
Unfortunately, sensationalism so often overshadows the facts. The reality is that there aren’t nearly as many multiples as a result of IVF treatment as you may think “ and the numbers are on the decline. The Association Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) first published embryo transfer guidelines a decade ago and has since seen a 60% reduction of multiple births.
According to ASRM, The most recent IVF Success Rate Reports from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) reflect that several important trends are continuing: the 2008 data show the percentage of live births with triplets or more remains below 2% while the percentage of cycles utilizing elective single embryo transfer has increased from 2007.
Did you hear that, America? Less than 2%! Let’s give a big bravo to emerging technologies that allow fertility specialists to more accurately assess embryo viability.
I do see an upside, however. The hoopla creates an opportunity to revisit the discussion and provide education.
Here’s a fact that many people are unaware of: in vitro fertilization is the only medical procedure that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) mandates healthcare providers to report. That’s right. Every IVF cycle in the nation is documented! Both the CDC and SART publish IVF success rates on a fertility-clinic level.
No matter how you slice it, the numbers stand for themselves: all fertility doctors are not Dr. Kamrava and the vast majority of IVF babies are born without a sibling following moments later.
Now let’s just hope that Octomom’s 29 remaining frozen embryos stay tucked away¦ far far away from Dr. Kamrava.