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"We must reduce the epidemic of multiple births," Van Steirteghem said, noting that in Sweden the rate had been cut from around 30 percent in the early 1990s to about 5 percent today.
In the United States, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reported that the use of single-embryo transfers is increasing, and the frequency of triplet births is down to below 2 percent.
Sapienza noted that women seeking assisted reproduction tend to be older than those who conceive naturally, but said that had been controlled for in the studies comparing the two groups of children.
Dolores J. Lamb of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston urged more testing of males for the reason for infertility.
"There are correctable causes of male infertility and a couple can then have children the natural way," she said. Also, infertility can be the first symptom of diseases such as testicular cancer, Lamb said.
As of 2008, the most recent data available, the United States reported that 361 clinics did 140,795 treatment cycles leading to the birth of 56,790 babies.
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