A new study shows that using a single embryo when undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment gives a higher success rate and healthier pregnancy than those using two embryos.
The study, led by D.J. McLernon, part of the medical statistics team of the population health at the University of Aberdeen in the UK, studied 1,400 women who had IVF treatment to get pregnant. The researchers studied the pregnancy success rate and health of the women after IVF, based on the number of embryos implanted.
Half of the women had just one embryo implanted, while the other half had two embryos implanted at the same time. Those who just had one embryo implanted had five times chance of having a successful pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy, full-term baby, lowering the risk for premature birth.
Says Dr. Laurel Stadtmauer, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology as well as IVF associate director at the Eastern Virginia Medical School Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, V.A., “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.”
“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. Stadtmauer also advises that older women having problems getting pregnant may try resorting to two embryos as this increases their odds. Doctors should still examine each case thoroughly before eliminating certain fertility treatments.
SOURCES: • December 22, 2010. Alan Mozes. “Single Embryo Beat Double Embryo Transfer in IVF Study,” nlm.nih.gov • December 23, 2010. Summer. “Single Embryo IVF Better than Double Embryo,” GrowingYourBaby.com