A multiple pregnancy is considered the single greatest risk of fertility treatment. Maternal and neonatal complications associated with a multiple pregnancy have been the driving force behind the implementation of the ‘One child at a time’ campaign by a group of fertility and public health experts.
Following a public consultation process, it was concluded that the risk of a multiple birth could be minimised by identifying IVF patients with the highest probability of conceiving and by implementing an Elective Single Embryo Transfer (SET) policy. The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) an independent regulator of fertility clinics in the UK, in 2009 implemented their strategy to minimise multiple births. All IVF clinics in the UK are responsible for devising and implementing a multiple birth minimisation strategy to reduce their multiple birth rate to 10%. Over this four year period the HFEA has continually monitored the impact of the policy on both multiple birth and overall pregnancy and birth rates.
At the Herts & Essex Fertility Centre on reviewing our progress in this period, we are proud to report a significant decrease in our multiple birth rate with a significant increase in the number of Single Embryo Transfers we performed. Our cause for celebration is because our clinical pregnancy rate has not been compromised and 60% of our patients eligible for SET have a positive pregnancy test.
How did we achieve this?
Single embryo transfer is not right for everyone. We carefully identify our patients who have the highest chance of conceiving and therefore at the highest risk of conceiving twins. In our experience these are patients who are under 38 years old and have a good quality blastocyst transferred on Day 5.
A single embryo transfer offers these individuals the greatest chance of a live birth and reduces the enhanced risks of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia and premature delivery associated with a multiple pregnancy. With our highest ever blastocyst implantation rates of 47% per single embryo transfer and 81.8% of eligible patients having a single embryo transfer we have great confidence in our single embryo transfer strategy.
Your fertility treatment is tailored directly to meet your individual need to optimise your chance of a successful pregnancy. It is important to remember single embryo transfer is not recommended for everyone. The decision on how many embryos to transfer is a very personal choice, which is ultimately made by you. We are here to guide and advise you on making an informed decision that is the right decision for you.