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Single embryo transfer is the cheapest and most effective strategy for assisted reproduction
Date:3/24/2009

Transferring single embryos to women's wombs over several assisted reproduction cycles that use both fresh and frozen embryos is more effective and cheaper than transferring two or more embryos at one time, according to data from the world's longest running series of patients who choose to have only one embryo implanted per cycle elective single embryo transfer (eSET).

The authors of the Finnish study published online today (Wednesday 25 March) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction [1], say that their results effectively refute any concerns there have been up to now about the cost implications of an eSET policy and any fears that it could result in a lower rate of live births. In addition, it halves the rates of multiple pregnancies the cause of potential medical complications and death for both babies and mothers.

Dr Hannu Martikainen, Chief Physician of the Division of Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Oulu, Finland, said: "This is the first study to evaluate the cumulative effect of fresh cycles with subsequent cycles using frozen-thawed embryos in a complete, consecutive (and therefore unselected) patient population over an extended period of time. Our study, thus, reflects eSET in everyday practice with an outcome measure consistent with what patients actually want: a live healthy baby achieved in a cost-effective way.

"We found that a baby born alive at term using eSET was, on average, 19,889 euros less expensive than babies born as a result of double embryo transfer."

The researchers, led by Dr Martikainen, compared the outcomes of IVF/ICSI cycles in two periods at their fertility clinic: 1995-1999 when eSET was rarely used (4.2% of women), and double embryo transfer (DET) was much more common (called the "DET period" for the purposes of this study), and 2000-2004 when eSET was used more widely (46.2% of women) the eSET period.

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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-771-129-6986
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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