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Fresh or frozen embryo transfer, and why single transfer is the best option

11th July 2012 in Treatments

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

There was plenty of news from the recent ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) conference in Turkey – including studies which show that single embryo transfer helps improve survival rates in babies born through infertility treatment, and that freezing embryos prior to transfer may help pregnancy rates.

Single Embryo Transfer (SET) is something all infertility clinics – both private and NHS – should now have as a policy after clinics were ordered to reduce the numbers of multiple births following IVF to just 15 per cent. However in Australia, Single Embryo Transfer has a much higher rate of almost 70 per cent – and the new study revealed at ESHRE has shown that SET babies have less complications in pregnancy, better weight, were less premature and had lower abnormality rates compared to those from double embryo transfer.

This all confirms that SET is once again the best option for many infertility patients. Studies into SET have already show that it doesn’t affect pregnancy rates – but what is evidently does do is help improve the chance of a healthy baby at the end of treatment.

Obviously every case is different and although clinics in the UK do have to reduce the numbers of multiple births, make sure your consultant discusses the options with you. It could be that because of your age or medical history, then transferring more than one embryo is still the best option for you and here at Manchester Fertility we always reach this decision in consultation with you.

Another interesting outcome from ESHRE is data which seems to show that freezing embryos can help improve success rates because scientists believe that in some cases the necessary drugs to stimulate egg production can affect the receptivity of the lining of the womb – making it harder for the embryo to implant successfully. And so waiting a period of time before attempting transfer seems to boost pregnancy rates.

Obviously more studies are needed because freezing embryos doesn’t guarantee they’ll be suitable to use at a later date. It depends on your age at the time of freezing, how many embryos you have and whether they survive the freeze/thaw process.

It’s good to see the breakthroughs and studies revealed at ESHRE, with new data and information coming through infertility treatment success rates can only continue to improve as technology and science come together to help us help more people suffering from infertility.

Last updated: 10th July 2012