There’s been a lot of talk around Paris Hilton’s comments on IVF. The star came under fire after she opted for IVF so that she can ‘pick’ twins, calling the process ‘tough but worth it’.
Understandably, these words are incredibly hurtful to all of the women and couples who turn to fertility treatment out of medical necessity, and campaign for it to be covered by health services. But Hilton’s understanding of IVF is not just inflammatory, it’s incorrect.
Hilton turned to IVF out of belief that it is the ‘only way’ to ensure having ‘twins that are a boy and a girl’. In fertility treatment, there are no guarantees. Unfortunately, the tens of thousands who undergo treatment every year know this very well.
So why would she make the comment? Hilton’s doctor is likely planning on using a PGT (Preimplantation Genetic Testing) on advanced stage embryos to reveal gender. One could, in theory, then choose one boy embryo and one girl embryo, and transfer those together. There is no guarantee that one, or both, would implant.
In the UK, using these tests for sex selection is illegal. PGT (formerly known as PGD) is used when there are certain medical indications that suggest screening for known inherited conditions, and involves checking the genes or chromosomes of embryos for these specific genetic conditions. PGT can only be used on conditions approved by the HFEA. The full list can be found here, along with other great guidance on genetic testing.
In the UK, it is also advised not to transfer more than one embryo unless a successful outcome is less likely due to a woman's age, previous fertility history and other medical factors. This is because multiple pregnancies, such as twins, carry certain risks for both mother and baby.
There is a lot of misinformation around fertility treatment in the news. In line with our values of support and transparency, we will do our best to continue sharing factual information to set the record straight.
If you have any questions around fertility treatment or genetic testing, our fertility doctors are available for virtual consultations to answer your questions. You can book one by calling +44 (0) 115 824 3928 or requesting a free callback.Book a call