Number of multiple pregnancies drops by over 50%

Switzerland won't have so many twins - here meeting up at a special event several years ago Keystone / Sandro Campardo

The number of twin and triplet pregnancies has dropped by more than a half in just a few years. The 2017 reproduction law has thus “surpassed its hidden goal”, the Swiss Society of Reproductive Medicine SGRM has said.

This content was published on November 13, 2020 - 09:11

There were also fewer premature births, it reported on Thursday.

Multiple pregnancies stood at 5.2% in 2019, down from 15.8% in 2017. The number of premature births (before the 33rd week of pregnancy) dropped from 5% to 3.4% during the same time period.

“[This is] a great success, because it lowers the health risks for the affected mothers and children,” the SGRM said in a statementExternal link.

Risks include pre-eclampsia, diabetes and anaemia for the mother, and premature birth and cerebral palsy for the children.

In 2015 and 2016 voters twice approved changes to the law on medically assisted reproduction, allowing embryos created via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) to be tested for genetic or chromosomal abnormalities prior to their implantation in a woman’s uterus. Switzerland was the last country in Europe to approve the testing practice.

Doctors in the field had lobbied for the change, as they believed it would lead to more effective and safer treatments for couples suffering infertility.

The revised law came into effect in 2017. This allows 12 embryos to be developed outside the womb per IVF cycle (previously three) and only the embryos considered the most viable to be transferred. These single embryo transfers are considered the main reason for the reduction in multiple pregnancies, the SGRM said.

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