Octomom Lesson: More Couples Pressure Doctors

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RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, worries so much about multiple births that it will soon launch an educational video to urge couples not to seek more than one embryo.

The animated video, which follows the real-life story of a woman with twins born prematurely, will soon be distributed to clinics across the country.

"We are frustrated because we feel responsible for the behavior of the patient," RESOLVE executive director Barbara Collura said. "This is a really big deal and very common. We want to provide the best advice and resources possible to make a better decision."

RESOLVE has been largely responsible for encouraging insurance companies to cover IVF costs.

Shady Grove did a study of patients who were in a financing program and those who didn't have the stresses of finances made better choices.

"Patients may spend $10,000 to $15,000 so they want to hedge their bets and transfer as many embryos as they can," Collura said. "It's a very common sentiment in fertility patients."

In an Aetna insurance program in Washington, D.C., if a patient transfers one embryo, the insurance company will cover a later frozen embryo transfer.

"We hope it will be a trend that will catch on," Shady Grove's Stillman said.

He also urges the CDC to change its reporting so that doctors "don't get credit" for success rates with more than one embryo. "A triplet isn't at all a success," he said. "We need to change the pattern to emphasize singletons."

Cultural attitudes need to change, as well, but Stillman recently saw a hopeful sign.

One patient recently asked for a single transfer.

"She said she actually came in planning for two, but she had stayed at a friend's house and they had twins," he said.

"After staying overnight, she said, 'There is no way we are having two.' I ought to rent her house to other patients."

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