This year, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine took an expected step forward to increase the safety and health of prospective IVF moms and their future babies. They issued guidelines stating specifically that women under age 35 should have no more than two embryos transferred per IVF treatment cycle.
The goal is to prevent multiple pregnancy, which is full of risks to both mother and babies.
The patient's prognosis, not just her age, should also be taken into account. In cases of a woman younger than 35 having optimal chances at pregnancy, the ASRM further recommends that single embryo transfer be considered.
Other ASRM embryo transfer recommendations, by which Houston Fertility Center adheres, are:
Patients 35 to 37 years old with good prognosis -- 2 embryos
Same age group with less optimal prognosis -- up to 3 embryos (or up to 2 resulting from extended culture)
Patients 38 to 40 years old with good prognosis -- up to 3 cleavage-stage or 2 blastocysts
Same age group with less optimal prognosis -- up to 4 cleavage-staged or 3 blastocysts
Even in cases of patients who typically have the least optimal chances of pregnancy -- women 41 to 42 years old -- no more than 5 cleavage-stage or 3 blastocysts should be transferred.