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Single Embryo Beat Double Embryo Transfer in IVF Study
Date:12/22/2010

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo in-vitro fertilization (IVF) are almost five times more likely to give birth to a single healthy baby following the implantation of a single embryo than are women who choose to have two embryos implanted at the same time, an international team of experts has found.

The finding comes from an analysis of data involving nearly 1,400 women who participated in one of eight different embryo transfer studies. Approximately half of the women underwent procedures involving the single transfer of an embryo, while the other half underwent a double embryo procedure.

Overall, the study authors noted that, relative to a double embryo transfer, a single embryo transfer appears to significantly increase the chances of carrying a baby to a full term of more than 37 weeks.

In addition to lowering the risk for premature birth, a single embryo transfer also appeared to lower the risk for delivering a low birth weight baby, D.J. McLernon, a research fellow with the medical statistics team in the section of population health at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reported in the Dec. 22 online edition of BMJ.

"Our review should be useful in informing decision making regarding the number of embryos to transfer in IVF," the authors wrote in their report. They added that their observations could offer practical guidance to would-be mothers and doctors who are eager to foster optimal conditions for a successful pregnancy, while at the same time hoping to avoid the increased health risks associated with IVF procedures that give rise to multiple-birth pregnancies.

The authors concluded that doctors should advise patients to choose the single embryo transfer option over what appears to be the less optimal double embryo transfer option.

At face value, the data seemed to suggest that the double embryo transfer option does, in fact, offer the
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