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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
'Did IVF make my son ill?'
Helene with her children - Adam, Mark and Lucy
Helene has her family thanks to IVF
The fertility watchdog is recommending women undergoing IVF routinely only have one embryo implanted, because of the risks to mother and babies of multiple pregnancies.

Helene Torr, 42, has had IVF twice. She now has three children - Adam, eight and twins Mark and Lucy, six. Mark has cerebral palsy and autism.

Helene's first attempt at IVF led to her becoming pregnant with twins. However, one of the foetuses failed to develop. Adam was born in 1998.

She says: "We went for more treatment in 1999. I wanted to have three embryos put back. I thought that would give me a better chance of having another baby.

"It was only because the consultant refused to put more than two back that I didn't. He could see further than the pregnancy test."

Patients need to be assured that the research and the treatment is good enough that their chances of getting pregnant are as high with one embryo

Her twins were born in March 2000, both weighing around 4lbs.

But Helene said: "It was immediately obvious that my son had problems. He looked ill and wasn't thriving.

"From the minute he was born, he had problem after problem."

However, Mark was not diagnosed with cerebral palsy until he was one.

Helene, from Nottingham, said: "We were devastated.

"And the only thing I'd had done was the IVF. I'd had two embryos implanted. Was that the decision that made the difference?

"But I can't know. It could have been anything."

Helene says she backs the move towards single embryo transfers, but thinks women need to be reassured.

"It's a very sensible proposal for the health of the children that are born after treatment.

"But patients need to be assured that the research and the treatment is good enough that their chances of getting pregnant are as high with one embryo.

"And, if people are only getting one cycle of IVF paid for by the NHS, they want to ensure they have the best chance of having a baby - that's why they will want to have multiple embryos implanted."


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