IVF and Twins – Further Revelations in Suleman Octuplets Case Proves "No Need for Further Legislative Actions" :: CHR

October 19, 2010 (New York, NY) – The media is abuzz this morning with another inglorious development in the Suleman Octuplets case: According to reports from Boston Globe and others, the California state attorney said yesterday that Nadya Suleman’s now-infamous fertility doctor, Michael Kamrava, MD, transferred twelve embryos in the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment cycle that resulted in the birth of octuplets in January of 2009.

This report conflicts with Suleman’s assertion that only six embryos were transferred. As Norbert Gleicher, MD1, and David Barad, MD, MS2, both senior physicians at the Center for Human Reproduction (CHR) in New York City, previously pointed out in a recently published article in Expert Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology [available for free], the statistical likelihood of six embryos resulting in birth of eight offspring is negligibly low. They, therefore, correctly predicted that, in a likely scenario, many more embryos than acknowledged were transferred.

This revelation, thus, also supports the CHR’s repeatedly posted opinion that the Suleman Octuplets case is so far outside of currently accepted standards of care that it should not be used to change existing guidelines. For a healthy woman under 35 years, current professional guidelines state that no more than one to two embryos should be transferred and these guideline are widely followed by specialists in the field. How CHR investigators reached their conclusions is outlined in their February 2009 Ethics Update and in their March 2009 Ethics Update.

Drs. Gleicher and Barad also argue in the opinion article that IVF treatment and assisted reproduction is already one of the most heavily regulated areas of medical practice. Further regulation, therefore, is unlikely to benefit patients. Best quality infertility treatments require individualization of care, which means IVF and twins (or births of higher-order multiples) with their benefits. Individualized approaches to patients are, however, only possible if physicians are given latitude in their decision making processes. Further regulation would eliminate such opportunities and, thereby, decrease the excellent results currently reached through IVF in this country in comparison to the rest of the world.

About Norbert Gleicher, MD1 and David Barad, MD, MS2
1Medical Director, Center for Human Reproduction; President, the (not-for-profit) Foundation for Reproductive Medicine; Vis. Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine; 2 Clinical Director of Assisted Reproductive Technology, Center for Human Reproduction; Associate Clinical Professor, Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health, as well as Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

About Center for Human Reproduction

Center for Human Reproduction (CHR) is a leading fertility centers in the United States, with world-wide reputation for highly specialized clinical services, IVF cost assistance, and research. Investigators at CHR developed important fertility treatment methods, now widely used around the world and the organization holds a number of patents in the field of human fertility. More information about CHR can be found online by visiting www.centerforhumanreprod.com or by calling 212-994-4400 or emailing the communications manager at ykizawa@thechr.com.

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.