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IVF: Doctors in Quebec are concerned about the recurrence of multiple births

Publié le : 27 September 2013

 In Quebec in recent weeks, some hospitals have faced an increase in the number of calls from women carrying triplets or quadruplets following in-vitro fertilisation treatments (IVF). This increase in the number of multiple pregnancies is giving the College of Physicians cause for concern. Hence "an enquiry has been launched to shed light on practices in fertility clinics," according to the Canadian information site, Lapresse.ca. 

In accordance with the law of 2010, medically assisted procreation (MAP) programmes are available free of charge, and only one embryo can be implanted at a time. However, "in some cases, essentially with poor quality embryos, doctors can implant two embryos in women under 36 years of age or three embryos in women over the age of 37" – a decision which has to be justified by the medical practitioner. The increase in multiple pregnancies and requests for foetal reduction (*) nevertheless indicate that "more than one embryo is still being implanted". 
In view of these discrepancies, "several doctors are demanding […] clearer benchmarks for medically assisted procreation" since "mothers and their unborn babies may be exposed to life-threatening complications". Thus, despite information relating to risks, "no benchmark can be used […] to refuse IVF treatment", since "the final decision lies with the fertility practitioner and his/her patient", explains Dr. François Bissonnette, President of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, and physician at the OVO Clinic and Fertility Clinic at Montreal University Hospital. He points out: "One patient may not want to run the risk whereas another patient may be ready to accept it.Sometimes, the risk may be significant but both doctor and patient will have accepted it".  
In the light of this, the report by the Commissioner for Health and Well Being, which is subject to ministerial approval in terms of MAP, is eagerly anticipated.
(*) Foetal reduction: reduction in the number of viable foetuses or embryos in the case of multiple pregnancies

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