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New IVF Guidelines Aim to Reduce Multiple Births

Key provision limits embryo transfers

TUESDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In an effort to reduce multiple births following fertility treatment, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has revised its recommendations on the number of embryos that should be transferred during in vitro fertilization procedures.

The society reports that the guidelines are now different in two major ways.

For one, it says that doctors should only use one more embryo than called for in patients whose prognosis is less optimistic. Even in those with poor prognosis, no more than one extra embryo should be transferred.

The society also calls on doctors to advise patients about the risks of a pregnancy with several fetuses and to make notations about extra embryos and counseling in medical records.

The guidelines also make it clear that it doesn't make any difference whether transferred embryos are fresh or frozen. The recommended number remains the same.

The society issued guidelines more than 10 years ago and says they have cut down on births with high numbers of babies by almost 60 percent.

"It is clear that these guidelines have a terrific impact on clinical practice. Over the years we have seen a reduction in the number of high order multiple births while maintaining strong success rates. This latest revision is our most recent effort to help our members provide their patients with the best, safest care possible," said Dr. R. Dale McClure, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, in a statement.

More information

Learn more about IVF from the American Pregnancy Association.

--Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Society For Reproductive Medicine, news release, Oct. 19, 2009

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