A new study of parents who have multiple births following fertility treatment has found that they are more at risk of physical and emotional problems than parents who have a single baby. The report, published in this month's issue of Human Fertility, looked at 54 families which had children following treatment using assisted reproduction techniques.
The study found that mothers of twins and triplets may become socially isolated, because they find it difficult to get their babies ready to leave the house and too daunting to use public transport. But after years of longing for children, many feel too guilty and ashamed to admit they are having problems coping, says Dr Alexina McWhinnie, author of the study.
Over the past 20 years, the incidence of twins has nearly doubled, and that of triplets nearly quadrupled. Last year, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommended that a maximum of two embryos be transferred into women receiving fertility treatment, to reduce the numbers of multiple births. 'If more than two embryos are transferred then clinics should consider targeting those families most at risk in relation to social factors' said Dr McWhinnie. She added that these families should have adequate and immediate help once they leave hospital, and continuing support over a considerable period.