Objective: To investigate whether the incidence and obstetric outcome of triplet pregnancies after IVF treatment justify strict limitation of the number of embryos to be replaced to two.
Design: Retrospective analysis.
Setting: A transport IVF program.
Patient(s): All patients who had more than one embryo replaced.
Intervention(s): None.
Main Outcome Measure(s): Obstetric outcome, pregnancy.
Result(s): High-order pregnancies occurred in 24 cases (23 triplets and 1 quadruplet). Three patients opted for selective embryo reduction (12.5%). Three triplet pregnancies spontaneously reduced to twins. Comparison of 18 triplets, reaching at least 20 weeks’ gestation, with 54 twin pregnancies shows a higher perinatal mortality in the triplet group, causing 6 out of 18 patients to be confronted with at least one perinatal death. Triplets were born at a lower gestational age, had a lower birth weight, and a higher hospital admission rate of longer duration. Replacement of two, three, or four embryos did not lead to differences in pregnancy rates in the population studied. When a pregnancy occurred after replacement of three embryos, the risk of having a triplet pregnancy was 7.5%.
Conclusion(s): The obstetric outcome of triplet pregnancies in our population indicates that triplet pregnancies after IVF treatment have to be prevented. Selective embryo reduction is acceptable for few patients only and can therefore not be seen as a solution. Replacement of three embryos results in triplet pregnancy in an unacceptably high percentage. Replacement of two embryos only gives acceptable IVF results and is the method chosen in the IVF program in Rotterdam to prevent triplet pregnancies.

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doi.org/10.1016/S0015-0282(97)81913-9, hdl.handle.net/1765/67350
Fertility and Sterility
Department of Reproduction and Development

Roest, J., Mous, H., van Heusden, A., Zeilmaker, G., & Verhoeff, A. (1997). A triplet pregnancy after in vitro fertilization is a procedure-related complication that should be prevented by replacement of two embryos only. Fertility and Sterility, 67(2), 290–295. doi:10.1016/S0015-0282(97)81913-9