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Multiple Births Essay Research Paper Since the

Multiple Births Essay, Research Paper Since the 1970?s, the number of triplets and higher multiple births have quadrupled due to fertility treatments, such as, in vitro fertilization and fertility drugs. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, by 1995 alone, 9.3 million American women sought help for infertility problems (Ackerman 63).

Multiple Births Essay, Research Paper

Since the 1970?s, the number of triplets and higher multiple births have quadrupled due to fertility treatments, such as, in vitro fertilization and fertility drugs. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, by 1995 alone, 9.3 million American women sought help for infertility problems (Ackerman 63). With this increase in complicated multiple pregnancies, regulations need to be set in place to avoid the undesired consequences of fertility treatments.

Technology has made many advances towards helping infertile couples obtain their dream of having children. Fertility clinics are using newer techniques to increase the chances of conception. One of the most popular techniques is in vitro fertilization. In this process, eggs are removed from the ovaries and placed in a petri dish. They are then fertilized and implanted into the uterus. Doctors can implant as many eggs as they feel will produce guaranteed results. In other cases, fertility drugs such as Metrodine, Clomid, and Pergonal are used to stimulate the ovaries into producing eggs (Alexander 102).

Techniques for treating infertility, while proven successful for many couples, carry with them high risks. As many as 50?000 families each year are now having multiple birth babies as a result of these treatments (Alexander 102). These women who seek help, have usually tried unsuccessfully for years to get pregnant. Once they have finally achieved pregnancy, they are now faced with agonizing dilemmas in what should have been a joyous occasion. The health risks these women face are serious considering that ?the uterus is not designed to carry litters,? as Dr. Louis Keith points out (Alexander 102).

The dilemma a woman faces when pregnant with multiples is astronomical. She must make a choice at to whether or not to selectively reduce the number of fetuses to increase the chances of a normal pregnancy. Selective reduction involves inserting a needle into the most accessible fetuses and injecting a small amount of potassium chloride, a poison, to terminate them (Cowley 49). Should she decide not to selectively reduce, as many do, due in part to their religious beliefs, she is now faced with a very high-risk pregnancy. Multiple babies are born premature and seventy to eighty percent land in neonatal intensive care units (Morse). The danger to the few babies, who seem relatively healthy at birth, is that ?some disabilities may not be apparent for years. The literature suggest that children in multiple births will all have some form of handicap?, according to Dr. Patricia Baird (qtd. In Driedger 28)

The family strains accompanied with multiples include financial, physical, and emotional. Few families are equipped to deal with the financial burden of four to seven infants at once. Along with the high cost of medical care, they must also be responsible for the day-to-day requirements of infants, such as, formula and diapers. Fortunately, due to the media coverage, many companies donate vast quantities of supplies to these babies and their families. Unfortunately, the families are now faced with the media exposure, undesired of desired. Becoming celebrities overnight brings with it added pressure. Families feel obligated to share their babies with the world in payment for the good wishes they have received.

The needs of an infant must be looked after twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and couples are physically overwhelmed. Some families have to have around the clock nursing care for the babies with medical problems (Alexander 101). Along with the financial strain, an emotional stress is added for the parents who view themselves as failures for needing help. Coping with the pressures of multiple births is doubled with the added emotional stresses of publicity.

Undoubtedly, successful multiple births are miracles, but as many doctors say this would not happen without the intervention of fertility drugs and advanced medical techniques. Even with the best that science has to offer, parents who decide to proceed with a multiple birth are gambling with the lives of the mother and her babies. The reality is multiple births can be prevented in the first place with basic government guidelines and regulations. With the use of imaging tests to monitor the behavior of a woman?s ovaries after she has taken fertility drugs, doctors can tell if numerous eggs have been released and advise against sex or sperm injections. Other countries have regulated implanting no more than three embryos into the uterus at one time: but in the United States, federal level research into fertility treatments has been put on hold due to the abortion debate (Morse). As of today, the United States has no rules or regulations regarding fertility treatments. Family physicians and O.B.-Gyn?s can prescribe fertility drugs at their own leisure, even to women fertile or past the post-menopausal stage. If regulation were put into effect, the number of multiples would drastically decrease, resulting in less health problems for the mother and her babies, and avoiding the painful decisions and choices involved. Regulations could also limit treatment to strictly infertile couples and decrease financial and emotional strains.

With advanced technology, parents and doctors are increasing being placed in the position to play God, and now that technology is available, there is no turning back. Couples looking for help to conceive biological children should not have to be faced with the complications of higher multiple births that could be avoided. By applying regulations to the fertility treatment programs, these risks would be drastically reduced. Of course, if we were all satisfied with the cards we are dealt in life, then regulations of this type would not be necessary. Scientists research and invent new ways to maneuver around human nature under the auspice of helping people. More often than not, that comes with a price.

Works Cited

Ackerman, Elise. ?Newfangled Babies, Newfangled Risks.? U.S. News 22

Dec. 1997: 63-64

Alexander, Bryan; Giovanna Breu, Jerome Richard, Danelle Morton. ?Mortal

Choices.? People 7 Oct. 1997: 96-102.

Bazell, Robert. (July 2000) Doctors Warn Against Fertility Drugs. [On-line]

http://www.msnbc.com/news/429313.asp

Cowley, Goeffrey; Karen Springen. ?More is not Merrier.? Newsweek 26 Aug 1996: 49

Driedger, Sharon. ?Baby Boom in Iowa.? MacClean?s 1 Dec. 1997: 26-28

Morse, Andrew. (July 2000). Multiple Births. [On-line] ABCNEWS. Com

Ackerman, Elise. ?Newfangled Babies, Newfangled Risks.? U.S. News 22

Dec. 1997: 63-64

Alexander, Bryan; Giovanna Breu, Jerome Richard, Danelle Morton. ?Mortal

Choices.? People 7 Oct. 1997: 96-102.

Bazell, Robert. (July 2000) Doctors Warn Against Fertility Drugs. [On-line]

http://www.msnbc.com/news/429313.asp

Cowley, Goeffrey; Karen Springen. ?More is not Merrier.? Newsweek 26 Aug 1996: 49

Driedger, Sharon. ?Baby Boom in Iowa.? MacClean?s 1 Dec. 1997: 26-28

Morse, Andrew. (July 2000). Multiple Births. [On-line] ABCNEWS. Com

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