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Implanting two embryos could reduce IVF success

09 January 2017

By Ayala Ochert

Appeared in BioNews 883

Implanting two embryos can reduce IVF success by a quarter if one of the embryos is of poorer quality, new research suggests.

The results of the study, involving 1472 embryos, were presented at the annual conference of the British Fertility Society in Edinburgh last week.

'This research shows the importance of quality over quantity,' said Dr Nick Raine-Fenning, medical director and research lead at the Nurture Fertility clinic in Nottingham. 'Most patients understandably expect adding a second embryo will increase or even double their chances, but this has never been the case.'

All the embryo transfers were carried out at the clinic between 2009 and 2013, and were at the blastocyst stage (five days after fertilisation). The embryos were graded using a standardised IVF grading system.

When a good quality embryo was transferred at the same time as a poorer quality one, the chance of pregnancy was reduced by 27 percent compared with transferring a single good quality embryo. Transferring two good quality embryos was no better in terms of achieving a pregnancy than transferring just one. However, when two poorer quality embryos were transferred at the same time, there was a higher chance of achieving a pregnancy.

'The current feeling is that a good embryo will be recognised by the body and will be captured for implantation. But a poor quality embryo should be rejected by your body – your endometrium will reject it. What our research suggests is that if you put a poorer quality embryo back with a good one, it's more likely to compromise the chance of the good one implanting,' said Dr Raine-Fenning.

'In their first cycle I would absolutely recommend that women – even older women – have one embryo transferred and the second embryo is frozen for future transfer,' he said.

The HFEA recommends that women opt for a single-embryo transfer when having IVF treatment to help reduce the number of multiple births, which carry risks to the mother and babies. However, around half of women – around 26,000 each year – currently opt to have two embryos transferred in hopes of increasing their chance of getting pregnant. This latest research suggests that hope is misplaced.

'We hope this research will help clinics further reduce the number of multiple births, whilst crucially keeping their success rates high,' said Dr Raine-Fenning.

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

06 November 2017 - by Helen Robertson 
Using just one embryo during IVF results in a much higher chance of a healthy pregnancy and birth, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine...
31 July 2017 - by Annabel Slater 
IVF success rates increase with multiple rounds...
24 April 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A claim for judicial review that sought to challenge changes to the way the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) presents data about UK fertility clinics on its website has failed...

21 November 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
An online calculator that can estimate the cumulative success rate of IVF over multiple cycles has been released...
24 October 2016 - by Nina Chohan 
A study has found that women with higher levels of the 'stress hormone' cortisol in their hair are less likely to conceive through IVF than women with lower levels of the hormone...
22 August 2016 - by Dr Rosie Gilchrist 
White British women are more likely to have a successful pregnancy through IVF or ICSI than women from other ethnicities in the UK, according to a recent study...
15 August 2016 - by Dr Barbara Kramarz 
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome who undergo IVF using frozen embryos are more likely to have successful pregnancies than those using fresh embryos, a study suggests...
17 August 2015 - by Meghna Kataria 
Using frozen donated eggs over fresh ones for IVF hampers the odds of a successful live birth, a study has found...

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