Medicine: The Bitter Cost: Dangers of multiple births

Dangers of multiple births

The brave new science of reproductive technology has been a mixed blessing for childless couples. Women who were once told they might never conceive are now able to become pregnant. But fertility drugs or surgery can produce three or four, sometimes even eight or nine, fetuses. Not only does such a pregnancy threaten the mother's health, but each extra fetus increases the risk of miscarriage or premature birth, which can cause an infant's death or irreparable brain damage. In a widely publicized 1985 case, Californian Patti Frustaci gave birth prematurely to septuplets; only three survived.

Now doctors are offering an alternative:...

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