Single embryo transfer - What does it mean for me?

29th September 2010 in Treatments

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

Your questions answered….all about single embryo transfer:

I’m about to go through IVF, and I’ve read something about single embryo transfer. What does this mean?

Single embryo transfer (SET) is when only one embryo is transferred for your IVF cycle, instead of two or three.

Won’t this mean my chances of pregnancy are reduced?

No. SET is considered only when you have a good prognosis of getting pregnant. By that, for example, we mean that you’re within a certain age range, as the younger you are when undergoing IVF, the higher the success rate, and that you have no other issues why IVF won’t work. So in your case, transferring a single embryo is the best option for you, because there’s a very good chance you’ll get pregnant.

But I wouldn’t mind twins or triplets…

It may seem like a good way to get your family ‘in one go’ but carrying twins and triplets not only poses health risks to you, but also to your babies. There has been such a rise in multiple births following IVF in recent years that the HFEA has set a target for clinics to reduce the multiple pregnancy rate, which means that clinics now actively have to reduce the chances of twins and triplets through the use of SET.

This doesn’t mean that people undergoing IVF will stop having multiple births. It is up to consultants, in discussion with patients, to decide on whether a single embryo transfer is likely to result in pregnancy. We use many different factors to reach this decision, such as age, medical history and embryo quality. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

What about older patients who want IVF?

In the case of older women, SET may not be their best option for pregnancy. Multiple transfer would be the best option because they need to increase their chances of getting pregnant due to their age.

How can you be sure my single embryo will be good enough?

One of the things we assess when reaching the decision about SET with a patient is embryo quality. If the embryo is of good enough quality, then choosing SET doesn’t reduce the chance of pregnancy. 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, you won’t be charged extra for this procedure.

To find out more about SET, visit

Last updated: 20th January 2020