Many couples perceive twins as an optimal goal obtained from an IVF cycle. While such pregnancies can be a good thing when no problems arise, multiple pregnancies (even twins) increase the obstetric complications. Therefore, the goal of most infertility experts is to obtain singleton pregnancies. To this end, some experts have advocated the transfer of only one embryo at a time for many patients, a practice known as single embryo transfer, or SET. Even SET, however, cannot guarantee a singleton pregnancy, since some embryos can on rare occasion “split” and result in two identical twins. In general, SET results in a decreased chance of achieving a pregnancy per embryo transfer as compared to the transfer of two or more embryos, but it also greatly decreases pregnancy risks by avoiding multiples.
At Fertility Associates of Memphis, patients believed to have an excellent chance at achieving pregnancy with favorable predictors (good embryo quality, non smoker, normal BMI, previous successful pregnancy, etc.) are often offered SET. For patients with more complicated clinical situations, more embryos for transfer may be recommended.
Ultimately, the decision on how many embryos to transfer is one made thoughtfully by the patient and physician. As technology continues to improve the implantation potential of each transferred embryo, the use of single embryo transfer is likely to increase, further decreasing the risk profile associated with IVF in general.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please contact our office at 901-747-2229. We would be happy to assist you.