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Multiple Births and Infertility may Increase Risk of Cerebral Palsy

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Los Angeles, CAA study conducted by researchers at the University of California has found that couples suffering from infertility are three times more likely to have a child with serious problems such as cerebral palsy.

Meanwhile, a recent study from Europe has identified an important risk factor for infants born with cerebral palsy. Children of multiple pregnancies, pregnancies involving twins, triplets, or more, are at an increased risk of being born with cerebral palsy.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that a large number of infants with cerebral palsy were multiple births. Of the 431 children with cerebral palsy studied, 51 (or 12 percent) were from a multiple pregnancy. 48 of those children were from a twin pregnancy and three were from a triplet pregnancy. In four pairs of twins, both twins had cerebral palsy. (This is compared with a general population multiple pregnancy rate of around 1.5 percent.) Almost half of the children studied (around 45 percent) were born prematurely.

In Ontario, Canada, a family was awarded $12 million after twin girls were born prematurely and with cerebral palsy. The mother had taken the fertility drug Clomid but says she wouldn't have taken the drug if she had known the full extent of the risks involved.

The jury in the case found that the plaintiff was not properly told that Clomid could increase her chance of having twins and possibly lead to premature birth. The physician in the case was found negligent for understating the increased risk of twinning associated with Clomid. Taking Clomid increases the chance of having twins by 10 percent, but the plaintiff argued that she was told the risk was only three to five percent.

The twins were born at 30 weeks and have severe health problems. One twin can talk and go to school, but is paraplegic and requires the use of a wheelchair. The other twin is blind, quadriplegic, non-verbal and fed by a tube. She can only leave her house for medical care and suffers life-threatening bowel obstructions. The jury found that the drug Clomid caused the twin pregnancy which lead to the premature birth and cerebral palsy.


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