Do you hope it's twins?

20th December 2012 in IVF

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

If you’re thinking of starting IVF treatment in the New Year, do you hope that you’ll have twins from your infertility treatment?

At Manchester Fertility we currently follow the HFEA’s ‘one at a time’ guidelines, where fertility clinics – both NHS and private – should only transfer one embryo per cycle if you have a good prognosis. What this means is that if you’re young, healthy and we think you have a high chance of success from IVF, then we will recommend that only one fertilised embryo is transferred back into your uterus.

Why do we do this? Because twins and triplet pregnancies from IVF carry various health risks for both you and your babies. This has just been confirmed by a new study from Sweden, which examined the IVF cycles of almost 2,000 women, some of whom had double embryo transfer and twins, and some of whom had two children from two separate rounds of IVF, with a single embryo transfer each time.

Almost half of the twin babies (47 per cent) were born prematurely and over a third (39 per cent) were considered low birth weight, compared to just seven per cent of single babies who were born too early and five per cent who were considered small. Twins were also more likely to have breathing problems, sepsis or jaundice, whilst their mothers had two to three times more pre-eclampsia – a potentially dangerous complication of pregnancy.

This is why the HFEA brought in the new Single Embryo Transfer (SET) guidelines, to reduce multiple births which were becoming too common following IVF treatment where clinics routinely transferred more than one embryo.

What you need to remember is that only transferring one embryo doesn’t mean that your chances of a successful pregnancy are reduced. Since SET was introduced, although the number of twins and triplets born through IVF has dropped significantly, the overall IVF pregnancy rate has remained steady.

But for some women, multiple embryo transfer may still offer the best chance simply because of their age and medical history. At Manchester Fertility we will always discuss your options with you and reach any decision over embryo transfer in consultation with you.

Last updated: 20th December 2012