Outcome of twin, triplet, and quadruplet in vitro fertilization pregnancies: the Norfolk experience

Fertil Steril. 1992 Apr;57(4):825-34.


Objective: To review the maternal morbidity and neonatal morbidity and mortality associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) multiple pregnancies.

Design: Retrospective analysis of data collected from office and hospital records and from questionnaires sent to patients, their obstetricians, and pediatricians.

Setting: Patients (all with private insurance carriers) enrolled in an academic IVF program (The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine).

Patients, participants: All IVF pregnancies resulting in one or more gestational sacs on the initial ultrasound at 6 to 7 weeks were reviewed.

Main outcome measures: The frequency and severity of obstetrical and neonatal complications and the perinatal mortality of IVF twins, triplets, and quadruplets were compared. These were also compared with non-IVF multiple pregnancies.

Results: From 1982 to 1990, 629 IVF pregnancies progressed beyond 20 weeks; 115 twins (18.3%), 15 triplets (2.4%), and 4 quadruplets (0.6%). There was a high incidence of antenatal complications such as abortions (30.3%, 42%, and 20%), premature labor (41.5%, 92.3%, and 75%), pregnancy-induced hypertension (17.0%, 38.6%, and 50%), and gestational diabetes mellitus (3.1%, 38.5%, and 25%) for twins, triplets, and quadruplets, respectively. The mean gestational age at delivery was 35.5 +/- 3.7, 31.8 +/- 2.7, and 31.0 +/- 1.7 weeks, respectively. There was also a proportionate progressive increase in neonatal complications. The mean weights were 2,473 +/- 745, 1,666 +/- 441 and 1,414 +/- 368 g, respectively. Twins (22.7%), 64.1% of triplets, and 75% of quadruplets needed admission to the neonatal intensive care unit and remained for an average of 12.0 +/- 2.3, 17.4 +/- 14.0, and 57.8 +/- 17.9 days, respectively. There was no difference in the mean Apgar scores or the incidence of congenital malformations in the three groups. The corrected perinatal mortality rates were 38.5, 0.0, and 0.0 per thousand live births, respectively.

Conclusion: Triplet and quadruplet IVF pregnancies have increased obstetrical and neonatal complications compared with IVF twins. The perinatal mortality and the incidence of congenital malformations are, however, comparable in all three groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy, Multiple*
  • Probability
  • Quadruplets
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Triplets
  • Twins
  • Virginia