Fertility Blog

Higher Hospital Costs with Multiple Births

multiple births—preterm labor, low birth weight, and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, to name a few. That’s the main reason we’re so emphatic about the value of elective single embryo transfer (eSET)—the transfer of a single chromosomally screened embryo.

But what about other risks, for example, the hospital costs to care for multiples? Researchers in the Netherlands recently studied this question, looking at 5,497 children born from in vitro fertilization (IVF) between 2003 and 2005. Parents received IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in one of five Dutch IVF centers.1

The researchers found an increased risk of hospitalization, outpatient visits, and medical procedures for multiples compared with singletons. During the birth admission period, average hospital costs were about five times higher for multiples than for singletons. Although costs and consequences of poor neonatal outcomes in multiples can exist later in life, in the study, higher hospital costs did not persist over time. From the birth admission period to age 5, in fact, hospital costs for both groups were fairly comparable.

This study confirms the increased use of healthcare resources by multiples, and suggests that eSET has the potential to greatly decrease hospital costs, especially during the hospital admission period.

The study also provides further validation for PFC’s promotion of eSET, which minimizes risks of pregnancy while maintaining high pregnancy rates. With the help of comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS), we can now screen for and transfer the highest-quality embryo.

How does this translate into outcomes? In 2012, PFC’s pregnancy rate per transfer for eSET after CCS was 74 percent in women age 40 and younger and 64 percent in women over age 40. This much is clear: eSET + CCS goes a long way toward meeting our overriding goal of one healthy baby at a time.


  1. Van Heesch MM et al. Hospital costs during the first 5 years of life for multiples compared with singletons born after IVF or ICSI. Hum Reprod. 2015 Apr 2. pii: dev059. [Epub ahead of print]

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