BOCA RATON, Fla. - Some fertility experts are now saying twins are not twice as nice.
There's a recent push in reproductive medicine to limit the number of twin births in the United States.
When Ruth Lindor Jean and her husband, Evans, wanted a baby, in vitro fertilization was their best option.
To ensure they’d get pregnant, they asked their doctor, Scott Roseff, MD, of the South Florida Institute of Reproductive Medicine to help increase their chance of having a baby by implanting more than one embryo.
"I remember that day we were like one, two, one or two,” said Evans Jean.
But Dr. Roseff made the same recommendation to them that he does to all of his patients. His recommendation: to implant one embryo.
"We want one healthy baby. That's the goal," said Dr. Roseff.
IVF costs about $15,000. Many couples like the Jeans have to pay the entire bill out of pocket because they get no help from insurance to pay the bill. That’s why many will ask for more than one embryo to be implanted to increase their chances of getting pregnant.
But Dr. Roseff points to research that shows that delivery rates are about the same whether one embryo or more is implanted.
Dr. Roseff’s clinic is not alone. There’s a push by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine for doctors to limit multiples. They say multiple births increase health care costs and the risk of complications.
According to the CDC, the number of triplets and quadruplets born through artificial means went way down between 2000 and 2010. But the rate of twins born in the US has remained nearly the same level with only a slight decrease.
“2014 is the year that we are going to try and reduce the incidence of twins," said Dr. Roseff.
Oscar Machado is the COO of the South Florida Institute of Reproductive Medicine. He believes insurance companies need to be part of the solution. He sent a letter to insurance providers asking them to extend coverage to more patients if only one embryo is implanted.
“We would guarantee a single embryo transfer on those patients that share the cost with the insurance company. 50/50," Machado said.
He’s sent the letter before with no response. This time he says he’s heard from insurance companies agreeing to at least talk about the issue.
As for the Jeans, they took Dr. Roseff’s advice and only had one embryo implanted. They had baby Nehemiah nine months later.
“We're enjoying every moment,” said Evans Jean.