Dear Dr Mitchell,
I am 35 years old and wish to have twin babies. Is it safe to use Clomiphene to achieve this? I have normal ovulation.
Twin pregnancy tends to occur more frequently in black women, older women and women who use fertility drugs. However, if you are ovulating there is no benefit in taking Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid) to increase your chances of having twins.
Clomiphene is safe to use for a limited time period when indicated, but should not be taken in situations where it is not indicated because it can also be associated with significant side effects which include abnormal uterine bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and blurred vision. In some cases it can also increase your risk of ovarian cancer since it causes 'super ovulation'. All drugs that cause you to release multiple eggs in one cycle can theoretically increase your risk of ovarian cancer.
The drug is, however, relatively safe to use when injected.
Twin pregnancy is associated with more complications in pregnancy such as pre-term labour and delivery, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. There is also increased risk of having a Caesarean section. If you have no other issues at 35, then you should just try for natural conception. Older women are at an increased risk of birth defects and medical complications in pregnancy.
You should take your daily folic acid and have a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables. Ensure that you achieve your ideal weight for height before pregnancy to reduce your risk of diabetes mellitus and hypertension in pregnancy. A programme which includes regular exercise will help you to achieve this.
Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Ave, Kingston 5; or fax to 876-968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to medical advice or treatment from your own doctor.