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

mother much better odds for giving birth to a single healthy baby. While among study participants just 27 percent of single embryo transfer procedures resulted in the birth of a healthy baby, that figure rose to 42 percent of double embryo transfer births, the investigators found.

However, that spread was narrowed considerably when the authors focused on those women undergoing an initial single embryo transfer procedure who then underwent a second single implant (of a frozen embryo). That scenario (in which, in essence, two single embryo transfers are conducted in sequence) prompted a 38 percent success rate -- a figure just 4 percent shy of the 42 percent success rate attributed to two embryos being implanted simultaneously.

What's more, the researchers further found that a single embryo transfer offered women an 87 percent better chance of carrying a baby to full-term than a double embryo transfer.

In addition, the single embryo transfer entailed just one-third of the risk (compared with the double embryo transfer procedure) that the mother would ultimately deliver a low birth weight baby.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Laurel Stadtmauer, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and IVF associate director of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, Va., described the current effort as "very convincing."

"There is a consensus that there is a high number of multiple births from IVF, and we're all doing everything we can to reduce that rate of birth because we know that premature birth and multiple births do lead to a higher risk for the babies and for the mother," she explained.

"And this certainly shows that cumulatively you can often achieve a much better outcome with two separate single embryo transfers compared with one double embryo transfer -- which would mean a much lower chance of a multiple pregnancy and all the related complications," Stadtmauer continued.

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