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Houston Fertility Center

IVF and Single vs. Multiple Egg Transfer

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on September 30, 2018

Cell division in IVF treatmentIt’s been estimated that 99 percent of all fertility treatments performed in the United States involve in vitro fertilization (IVF). This popular and effective treatment for male and female infertility has helped countless people in the greater Houston, TX realize there dreams of parenthood.

When Dr. Sonja Kristiansen works with patients, she makes sure they understand the various options available to them as well as the risks and benefits involved. With that in mind, the team at the Houston Fertility Center would like to consider the differences between single and multiple embryo transfer and why they matter during IVF treatment.

What Is Single Embryo Transfer?

Single embryo transfer refers to the use of just one embryo during an IVF cycle. Following fertilization in a lab, just one viable embryo is transferred to the uterus to be carried to term.

Benefits of Single Embryo Transfer

The primary benefit of single embryo transfer is the reduced risk of multiple pregnancies (in other words, twins and triplets).

Having twins or triplets can increase the health risks to the mother as well as the babies themselves. Premature birth, low birth weight, and a host of other conditions is more likely during multiple pregnancies. It’s also worth noting that raising twins and triplets can be a much bigger financial burden for a household than raising just one child.

Risks of Single Embryo Transfer

The primary risk of single embryo transfer is the lower success rate during the IVF cycle.

In a simple numbers game, having more embryos during an IVF cycle increases your chances of success. With just one embryo, you run the risk of a failed cycle and the need to repeat the process the following month. In fact, multiple IVF cycles may be required to achieve pregnancy if just a single embryo is used each time.

What Is Multiple Embryo Transfer?

Multiple embryo transfer refers to the use of more than one embryo during an IVF cycle. Following fertilization in the lab, two or three viable embryos are transferred to the uterus to be carried to term.

Benefits of Multiple Embryo Transfer

The primary benefit of multiple embryo transfer is the increase chances of success during an IVF cycle.

As we noted above, more embryos during a cycle means a greater chance of pregnancy. With a multiple embryo transfer, you may be able to become pregnant the first cycle you undergo IVF. This can be a major relief for people who’ve tried to become pregnant for a long time.

Risks of Multiple Embryo Transfer

The primary risk of multiple embryo transfer is the health risks posed by having twins or triplets.

With these risks affecting fetal development as well as a mother’s health, regular monitoring of your developing children is a priority. If there are potential health dangers to a mother, we may recommend single embryo transfer instead, or the assistance of a surrogate carrier.

Which Is Best for Me?

As you can imagine, there is no single answer to this question. During the consultation process, our goal will be to answer all of your questions and address your concerns so you can make an informed and confident decision about your fertility treatment needs. We will take your health and goals into account, and can also offer an honest assessment about the cost involved since short-term and long-term finances can define a lot of the choices you make.

Contact Houston Fertility Center

To learn more about IVF and how it can help you start a family, be sure to contact Houston Fertility Center. Our team will be able to answer your questions and address your concerns. You can reach our practice by phone at (713) 862-6181.

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Houston, TX 77024

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