Single Embryo Transfer: Do you get a choice?

26th August 2013 in Treatments

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

If you’re about to begin IVF treatment, you may have come across the term ‘Single Embryo Transfer’ or SET. This is when only one, good quality embryo is transferred instead of two or three, to prevent multiple births following IVF.

Under HFEA guidelines, all licensed fertility clinics actively have to reduce the rate of twins or triplets following infertility treatment because of the health risks associated with multiple pregnancies and as such clinics – including Manchester Fertility - have adopted a Single Embryo Transfer policy.

So do you get a choice or a say in how many embryos are transferred for your cycle, or will you always only have one embryo transferred, no matter what?

At Manchester Fertility, if you have good prognosis for your IVF we recommend a Single Embryo Transfer, because there is a good chance of your cycle working.

We use many different factors to reach this decision, such as age, medical history and embryo quality. If the embryo is of good enough quality, then choosing SET doesn’t reduce the chance of pregnancy.  There is a common mistaken belief that transferring two or three embryos doubles or triples a patient’s chance of having a baby – but dependent on age and medical history, transferring one embryo does not decrease the ultimate chances of having a baby, if the embryo is of high quality.

Studies have shown that 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. If you choose SET with Manchester Fertility, you will have what is called a ‘blastocyst transfer.’

A blastocyst is an embryo that has been allowed to develop for longer after fertilisation in our laboratory incubator, before being transferred to your uterus. A blastocyst transfer can help further improve the chances of pregnancy in patients with a good IVF prognosis, because the embryo has already developed further and is therefore more likely to implant successfully. Unlike other clinics, we don’t charge you extra for this procedure.

But if you’re an older woman, then SET may not be the best option. Multiple transfer may be recommended because of your age.

Please be reassured that when considering how many embryos to transfer, we always make any decision about your treatment in consultation with you – our SET policy doesn’t mean a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

If you have any questions about SET, please call our friendly team on 0161 300 2737 or email [email protected]

Last updated: 20th January 2020