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Whether you have recently been through an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle or if IVF is your recommended next step, the question of how many embryo’s to implant becomes an important decision to make. Here are some points to consider regarding elective single embryo transfer and whether it is the right option for you.

The primary goal of eSET is to decrease the multiple pregnancy rate associated with IVF. In the United States, approximately 30% of IVF pregnancies are twin pregnancy, and another 3% to 4% result in a triplet or higher order (4 or more implanted embryos) pregnancy. Transferring more than one embryo increases the chance of having a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.).

Multiple pregnancy leads to an increased risk of complications for both the mother and the fetus. There is an increased risk of miscarriage as well as pregnancy complications for these multiple birth expectant mothers and can even be life threatening. Multiple birth mothers are more likely to need Caesarean sections and usually require a longer recovery period. There is a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight in infants requiring intensive care immediately after birth and these little ones can face problems such as developmental disabilities and delays.

Historically, to achieve higher pregnancy rates and compensate for lower implantation of individual embryos, multiple embryos have been transferred. But as IVF implantation rates and live birth rates continue to improve , transferring fewer embryos is more the norm. The physicians at Utah Fertility Center work closely together with patients to educate and counsel them on the associated risks of multiple births and appropriately utilize Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET) for ideal candidates. Only women with the best prognosis for a pregnancy should be considered for eSET. Some of those factors are younger than 35 yrs old, have had a successful pregnancy in previous assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycle and have a number of high quality of embryos. Remaining embryos can be cryopreserved and utilized for future cycles. Numerous studies have demonstrated that cumulative birth rate after single embryo transfer (SET) followed by subsequent transfers of individually thawed cryopreserved embryos is as effective at achieving pregnancy as implanting multiple embryos at one time.

Whether to use eSET is a decision each patient makes after discussing their questions and concerns, and the risks and benefits with their physician. We are very pleased at Utah Fertility Center to offer patients who elect transfer of a single embryo very high rates of success. Our ultimate goal is to assist patients in achieving pregnancy in the safest and healthiest way possible.