Risks and challenges of multiples pregnancies and births
For couples who have had problems getting pregnant, the idea of having multiples may seem exciting. But you should know that giving birth to multiples presents greater health risks to both mum and babies. Also, there are many emotional, financial, and logistical challenges you should consider.
If you are thinking about getting fertility treatments, understanding these issues will help you make informed decisions. If you are already pregnant with multiples, this information will prepare you for the unique challenges of multiple birth and parenting.
Risks and challenges
For information about the health risks of fertility treatments and multiple pregnancies, see:
For information about challenges you may face as a parent of multiples, see:
Questions to ask your doctor
Here are some questions to ask your doctor or fertility specialist if you are thinking about a fertility treatment that puts you at risk for multiple pregnancy, or if you are already pregnant with multiples.
About 12,000 multiple-birth babies are born across Canada each year.
- Am I a good candidate for single embryo transfer?
- How will my cycle be monitored to prevent a multiple pregnancy? What things might happen that would lead to cancelling my treatment cycle?
- Are your clinic success rates based on pregnancies or take-home babies?
- What are our chances of having multiples? What is the fertility clinic/centre's rate of multiples for different maternal age groups, for each treatment option?
- How does my personal medical history and proposed treatment option(s) affect the chances of my conceiving multiples?
- How does my medical history affect my risk level for carrying twins (or more) to term?
- Where can I find support if I become pregnant with multiples?
Where to get help and information
There are many websites and organizations that can help you as a parent of multiples. Here are a few to help you begin your search for information and support.
Multiple Births Canada is a national non-profit organization that helps multiple-birth families across Canada. They offer information, help, and support groups through a team of dedicated volunteers, most of whom are multiple-birth parents themselves.
The following site links to federal and provincial/territorial programs and services that may be helpful to parents of multiples:
There are many non-governmental organizations in Canada that are helpful resources for people expecting multiples:
- Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society
- Canadian Paediatric Society
- Infertility Awareness Association of Canada
- Infertility Network
- Cerebral Palsy Support Foundation of Canada
- LGBTQ Parenting Network Canada
- March of Dimes (support for people with physical disabilities)
- Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Other countries, notably the United Kingdom and Australia, offer some great information on the subject of infertility that may help you:
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