The Canadian Institute for Health Information has a new study out showing over the last decade a 25% increase in premature births (babies delivered before 37 weeks). The report notes that mothers over 35 years of age are at a 10% higher risk of pre-term delivery and that pre-term delivery in mother’s with “multiples” (twins or more) have a whopping 17% higher chance of premature birth. The study rightly points to the increase in the use of in vitro technologies as causing the explosion in multiple births.

Naturally this is not good news for women and their babies.

I’m not sure that I wholly agree with neonatalogist Annie Janvier’s assessment of the situation in Canada. She blames these statistics on the “irresponsible governments that don’t encourage women to have families early”.

I wonder if she really believes government should be telling people when to have their children? I agree that the reality is our fertile bodies are most fertile when we are young, but to blame the government?

I do agree with Dr. Janvier’s criticism that fertility medicine is reckless by implanting multiple embryos at a time, giving increase to multiple births which are harmful to the babies and put pregnant moms at risk. And I would add the harmful risks of superovulation which allows multiple eggs to be produced and thereby multiple embryos to be created. The whole industry, and I believe it is an industry, is off the rail.

Author Profile

Jennifer Lahl, CBC Founder
Jennifer Lahl, CBC Founder
Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.