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Single Embryo Transfer IVF: Why we recommend it

PFCLA
23 Sep 2021

For many couples that want to have a child, the journey is neither easy nor guaranteed. However, today, all types of family building dynamics are possible and proven to be very successful. Worldwide, same-sex couples and couples experiencing infertility are growing their families with Single Embryo Transfer IVF (SET-IVF) services.

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SET-IVF allows for the transfer of only one embryo at a time. This drastically decreases the chance of twins (or more) from being conceived, as well as complications that may arise from higher-risk pregnancies and births. Moreover, SET-IVF has been shown to result in higher birth rates for those who do not produce detectable levels of eggs or sperm.

What is a Single Embryo Transfer? 

Initially, when In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technology was still new, fertility experts relied on transferring multiple embryos to boost success rates. Most clinics used this as a tool to offer hope to couples who were eager to get a child. However, the procedure had one major drawback; increasing the chances of multiple pregnancies. Couples even developed a fear of IVF, thinking that it would automatically result in twins. 

Using Single Embryo Transfer IVF technology, reproductive experts can now identify one embryo with better pregnancy success rates than others and transfer it to the uterus. The specialists then freeze other healthy embryos in a lab for future use. This method is especially good for clients with a better prognosis.

Single Embryo Transfer IVF Success Rates

The success rates of IVF do not depend on the number of embryos that fertility experts transfer. Rather, it relies on the quality of the selected embryo, and the diagnosis of the client. Recent studies have shown that implanting multiple embryos can even reduce pregnancy chances by 27%. 

The success rates of IVF can further be made worse when physicians transfer a healthy embryo alongside one that has poor quality. Experts explain that the body focuses more on the poor-quality embryo than the healthy one, cutting down the chances of pregnancy. 

Single Embryo Transfer IVF success rates are high because experts tend to focus more on finding and implanting one good quality embryo. This procedure is a better option because it also preserves other fertile embryos for subsequent use. 

The Technology behind Single Embryo Transfers

Professionals have combined many developments in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to identify, implant, and preserve healthy embryos for pregnancy. The Single Embryo Transfer technology involves the following steps: 

Extended Embryo Culture

At this stage, experts observe the embryos they need to transfer while selecting those of a high grade. Extended embryo culture is important because it boosts the IVF Single Embryo Transfer success rate and the efficiency of every embryo selected to be frozen for future use. 

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Also known as Early Embryo Viability Assessment, this process involves selecting the embryos most likely to form a pregnancy without shifting them from their incubators. At this stage, embryologists continuously monitor embryos to identify those with normal cell division. 

Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A)

During PGT-A, embryologists sift out poor-quality embryos dependent upon their chromosomal count. Embryos with a normal chromosomal count are believed to theoretically boost pregnancy success. 

Vitrification

Vitrification is the freezing and preservation of healthy embryos in a lab. Fertility experts can later use a single embryo at a time for IVF procedures.

Benefits of Single Embryo Transfer IVF

Before the existence of eSET, experts relied on multiple embryo transfers to increase IVF success rates. However, this method had risks, especially among clients with a better prognosis, because it would result in multiple gestations. 

ESET did not only improve pregnancy success but also reduced the complications associated with multiple pregnancies such as: 

  • Premature delivery
  • Miscarriage
  • Child disabilities such as vision loss and cerebral palsy
  • Complications to the mother including nausea, vomiting, and high blood pressure

Conclusion

Single Embryo Transfer is a popular IVF procedure because it reduces the risk of twins, higher-order pregnancies, and miscarriages. It also has the added benefit of being more cost-effective. Want to learn more about embryo transfers? Check out our complete guide to this advanced fertility treatment. 

Note: This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided is for general educational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Speak to your doctor directly with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any information contained herein does not replace any care plan as determined by a physician. 

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