-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Among women who undergo in
vitro fertilization (IVF) to become pregnant, there is no
difference in delivery rates among those implanted with one
prescreened embryo compared to those implanted with two unscreened
embryos, new study findings reveal.
Although transferring two unscreened embryos is currently a more
standard procedure, transferring a single chromosomally normal
embryo results in fewer twins and better outcomes for both women
and their babies, the researchers pointed out in a news release
from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
"The technology exists today to make single-embryo transfer the standard of care across age groups, eliminating the vast majority of complications stemming from IVF, while maintaining excellent delivery rates for couples who have struggled with infertility," study lead researcher Dr. Eric Forman, of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey in Basking Ridge, said in the news release.
The study involved 175 women aged 43 or younger. The women were
assigned to receive one genetically prescreened embryo or undergo a
double-embryo transfer with no screening. The study showed the two
groups had equal pregnancy rates. The researchers noted, however,
that no twins resulted from the single-embryo transfer.
Meanwhile, 53 percent of the double-embryo transfers were
multiples. Infertility treatments, such as IVF, generate 18 percent
of all twin deliveries in the United States, the study authors
The research also revealed that transferring one prescreened
embryo resulted in a longer gestation, on average. But
double-embryo transfers were associated with a threefold increased
risk of preterm delivery, the findings showed.
The single-embryo transfers were also associated with greater
newborn birth weight, as well as fewer admissions and shorter stays
in the neonatal intensive care unit.
The researchers pointed out that most women choose to have two
embryos transferred because they may feel it increases the
likelihood that they will become pregnant. Medical costs may also
play a role because IVF is not always covered by insurance.
Now, only 10 percent of women opt for a single-embryo transfer.
However, as more women learn about the success rates of
single-embryo transfer, it may become a more popular option, Forman
"[Single-embryo transfer] with comprehensive chromosome screening has the potential to be paradigm-shifting and revolutionary in the world of IVF," Forman suggested in the news release.
"Patients can do [single-embryo transfer] and maintain excellent delivery rates while not taking on the treatment-related risk of multiples. And for [obstetrician-gynecologists], this will mean fewer high-risk pregnancies handed off to them. It can reduce the health care burden across the spectrum," Forman said.
The study authors noted that the genetic screening used in the
study is not yet widely available in the United States. They said
this will likely change in the near future.
The study was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the annual
meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
in New Orleans. Research presented at medical meeting should be
viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
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