One fear I think many women have entering fertility treatment is the possibility of multiples. We hear all the stories about octomom in the headlines and don’t want to end up a mom with 8 babies all at once. Parenthood is exhausting. I think the women who go down the path of infertility treatments are already exhausted before they even learn that they are pregnant.
When we went through IVF the first time we were told that our chances of twins with the transfer of two embryos was fairly low…something like 10%. This second time we were told with a transfer of 3 embryos that our chances of having triplets would be less than 1% and for twins would be less than 4%. Statistically these percentages made sense when explained to us. The research was definitely there to support these possible outcomes.
For the patient, how do you know if you are one of the 10-4%? It is almost as uncertain as the roll of the dice. Obviously the more embryos transferred the higher chance of multiples. You enter that surgical room waiting for the transfer in hopes that you will end up with one healthy, happy baby.
So what happens when you find out that you have more than one baby? Most fertility sites I have looked at address the loss and grief process when you learn that you are not pregnant following treatment – but what happens when you find out you are, and with 2 or more babies? Of course you are happy that fertility treatments worked, but what other emotions do you feel?
It is normal to feel overwhelmed, concerned about how your body will support the pregnancy, fearful of how your life may change with extra additions to the family. When you first hear, I think it is natural to experience a bit of doubt/denial at first, but once you see the babies heart flutter on the monitor during your ultrasounds, you know for certain that you have more than one.
I know some women consider reductions, especially in cases where carrying more than one baby can put the baby(ies) or the mother in jeopardy. What emotions are triggered in this process? I do not know this position personally, but I would imagine this would be a difficult decision after working so hard to make a baby (depending on your view points about abortion, etc.)
Please post comments. I am curious to know your first reactions when you heard you were pregnant with multiples. How did you adjust to the idea? What advice would you give to others?