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Single vs. Multiple Embryo Transfer with IVF

Vicken Sahakian
19 Nov 2018

There are numerous fertility treatments that can help patients overcome the common sources of infertility, but few offer the success rates of in vitro fertilization, or IVF. IVF assists with many of the stages of conception to truly maximize a patient’s chance of becoming pregnant.

After ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and fertilization, the final stage of IVF treatment is embryo transfer. In most cases, patients have multiple viable embryos that can be implanted, so they must choose how many they would like to transfer.

The fertility specialists at Pacific Fertility Center help patients consider single vs. multiple embryo egg transfer with IVF at our Los Angeles, CA practice, so that they can choose the transfer option that is most suitable to their unique needs and desires.

Does a Multiple Embryo Transfer Increase Implantation Rates?

In many cases, a couple’s gut instinct is to have multiple embryos transferred during this phase of IVF treatment to increase the likelihood of a successful embryo transfer. After struggling with infertility, it is not surprising that a patient would want to do anything possible to increase their chances of success.

However, it is important to consider what contributes to IVF implantation success rates, or the number of transferred embryos that develop a fetal heartbeat. While it is often assumed that implantation rates will be higher when 2 or more embryos are transferred, implantation success actually has a lot more to do with the quality of the embryos transferred than the quantity.

Data collected from the CDC highlights the fact that the age of the patient and the quality of transferred embryos play a huge role in implantation success rates. The CDC reports that, in patients using their own fresh embryos, the percentage of transferred embryos that actually implant is around 40 percent for women under the age of 35.

Implant rates decrease to just over 30 percent for those aged 35 to 37, around 20 percent for those aged 38 to 40, and just about eight percent for patients over the age of 40.

Fortunately, our fertility specialists are able to grade and rate embryos so that we can choose only the most viable for embryo transfer. This is possible through a process called preimplantation genetic screening, or PGS/PGT-A. Through this, intended parents can also select the sex of the transferred embryo(s). 

2 embryos transferred but only 1 implanted

Multiple Embryo Transfers and Multiple Births

Another key factor to consider when choosing how many embryos to transfer is the chance of a multiple birth. When 2 or more embryos are implanted, the odds of a multiple birth increase significantly. Still, it's possible that intended parents that transfer 2 embryos will only see 1 implanted within the uterus. 

If a couple has struggled with infertility, the idea of having twins or triplets may seem great. However, there are practical factors to consider as well. Patients should realize that multiple births are more likely to result in premature births or low birth weights, both of which can cause complications.

This is not to say that multiple embryo transfer is not a good option for some patients, but just one that should be carefully considered prior to the transfer procedure.

Learn More About Single vs. Multiple Embryo Transfers 

IVF has allowed many patients to finally experience the joys of pregnancy and parenthood. If you are struggling with infertility and would like to learn more about the IVF process and the benefits of single vs. multiple embryo transfer, contact us at your earliest convenience. You can schedule a personal consultation with one of our fertility specialists by calling (310) 586-3459 or (818) 952-0328.

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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