Tree of Life Center / Why are there so many multiple births in Korea?

The probability of twins being born is about one in a hundred. The case of triplets being born is about one in a thousand. If a woman chooses to undergo Vitro fertilization in Korea, the chance of multiple births will increase by up to 30%. Patients at the clinic are given medication for ovulation induction to produce multiple eggs during IVF of Intrauterine Insemination, after which the clinic implants multiple embryos in the uterus to boost the success rate.

 

There have been several media reports in November about quintuplets being born in Korea. Many media outlets report this as a medical achievement due to the positive press the first time quintuplets were born in 1987. However recently, the Korean mother had expected to deliver six children through intrauterine insemination but one was a miscarriage and the mother gave birth to five children that were sent to neonatal intensive care units immediately.

 

From a medical perspective, that’s not something to brag about. Unlike other species, a human female’s body is designed to carry one fetus. That’s because if women are capable of having multiple pregnancies over the course of their life, the chances of premature birth will increase, and the mother is more likely to develop complications. Besides, babies may live with disabilities for the rest of their lives.

 

Fertility clinics in the U.S., however, do not intentionally insert several embryos into one mother to give birth. That’s because they transfer one excellent embryo to the mother after chromosomal testing. The chance of success improves to 80%.

 

 

However, embryo genetic testing in Korea is prohibited under the Bioethics Act, which is limited to parents with genetic diseases or those who have experienced miscarrying due to genetic disease. Accordingly, the doctor and patient would not know if the embryos were high quality since they are not able to conduct embryo biopsy.

 

 

When it comes to IVF in Korea, the probability of failure is high, and it is likely for a mother to have multiple fetuses. It could be deadly for the mother and her babies. Therefore, it would be helpful to bring the legislation and advances in reproductive medicine in synchrony.