Prevention of Multiple Pregnancy

Prevention during infertility treatment is the best approach to avoiding a multiple pregnancy.

In ART cycles, limiting the number of embryos transferred is an effective approach. In many countries, the number of embryos transferred is legislated by the government. In the United States, physicians and patients jointly decide how many embryos to transfer. At Fertility Associates of Memphis, we follow the ASRM Practice Committee Report titled “Guidelines on Number of Embryos Transferred” for recommendations regarding the optimal number of embryos to transfer based on patient age, embryo quality, and other criteria.

The ultimate goal of physicians performing ART is to achieve a high pregnancy rate while transferring a single embryo. While physicians can transfer two embryos and still maintain acceptable pregnancy rates, the transfer of one embryo may eventually be associated with good pregnancy rates, thereby resolving the problem of multiple pregnancies caused by multiple embryo transfer. Multiple pregnancies are a known complication of ovulation drugs. Most physicians monitor patients with ultrasound examinations and blood tests. A woman with a large number of ovarian follicles or high hormone levels has an increased risk of a multiple pregnancy, and the ART cycle may be canceled to avoid the risk.

Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction

When a triplet or higher order multiple pregnancy occurs, multifetal pregnancy reduction may be
considered for the health of the mother and to improve survival of the pregnancy. While multifetal
pregnancy reduction carries some risk of a complete miscarriage, it also reduces the chances of
extreme premature birth.