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IVF single embryo transfer performs well in birth rate study

13 May 2013

By Dr Katie Howe

Appeared in BioNews 704

The transfer of one pre-screened embryo during IVF leads to birth rates equivalent to transferring two unscreened embryos, indicates new research from the USA.

Preliminary results presented at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Annual Clinical Meeting revealed that single embryo transfer combined with preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) resulted in fewer twin pregnancies and better health outcomes for both mother and child.

'Single embryo transfer with comprehensive chromosome screening has the potential to be paradigm-shifting and revolutionary in the world of IVF', explained lead researcher Dr Eric Forman, of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. 'Patients can do single embryo transfer and maintain excellent delivery rates while not taking on the treatment-related risk of multiples', he added.

Infertility treatment currently accounts for 18 percent of twin deliveries in the USA. However, multiple pregnancies carry increased health risks to the mother and child.

In the study 175 women aged 43 or younger received either a single pre-screened chromosomally normal embryo or two unscreened embryos. Results so far indicate equivalent pregnancy rates in the two groups. No twins resulted from single embryo transfers whereas 53 percent of double embryo transfers led to multiple pregnancies.

At present only ten percent of women in the USA opt for an elective single embryo transfer. Dr Forman noted that most women choose to have multiple embryos transferred because they feel that this improves their chances of becoming pregnant. However, as more people become aware of the success rates of single embryo transfer, its popularity as a treatment option may increase.

'The technology exists today to make single embryo transfer the standard of care across age groups, eliminating the vast majority of complications stemming from IVF, while maintaining excellent delivery rates for couples who have struggled with infertility', explained Dr Forman.

PGS adds an extra cost to fertility treatment in the USA and research is ongoing at RMANJ to establish whether in the USA this cost is offset by the reduced healthcare burden associated with lower risk singleton pregnancies.


US News | 08 May 2013
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists | 08 May 2013


13 January 2014 - by Ruth Saunders 
The last session of PET's annual conference tackled changes in the HFEA's attitude to single embryo transfer (SET) policy, following a recent successful legal challenge... [Read More]
25 November 2013 - by Professor Lisa Jardine 
In stark contrast to reports in the media, the need to reduce the incidence of multiple births following IVF remains, and the policy still stands... [Read More]
02 September 2013 - by Sarah Pritchard 
The cumulative chances of a woman getting pregnant following IVF increase with each treatment cycle until the sixth cycle, after which the increases are minimal, show study results from Australia and New Zealand.... [Read More]
09 July 2013 - by Siobhan Chan 
A new technique using basic equipment to perform IVF could dramatically reduce costs and make the treatment 'universally accessible', say scientists reporting that 12 babies have been born so far from this approach... [Read More]
03 June 2013 - by Professor Jenni Millbank 
Current IVF laws and ethical guidelines on embryo storage in Australia are intrusive and disrespectful. Policies and practices in modern-day IVF do not do enough to acknowledge the emotional significance of embryos... [Read More]

11 February 2013 - by Matthew Thomas 
Figures released by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority reveal the number of IVF cycles performed each year has continued to rise while the overall multiple pregnancy and birth rate has declined.... [Read More]
09 July 2012 - by Dr Gabrielle Samuel 
Single embryo transfer reduces the risk of death within a month of birth for babies conceived via IVF, according to an Australian study... [Read More]
02 July 2012 - by Dr Sarah Spain 
For the first time, researchers in the USA have calculated cumulative success rates of infertility treatments that use IVF or assisted reproductive technologies (ART), and have showed that overall success rates come close to that of natural conception.... [Read More]
11 June 2012 - by James Brooks 
Use of assisted reproductive technologies like IVF carry with them an increased risk of complications for mother and child, a report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists highlights... [Read More]

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