The goal of all fertility treatments is for you to deliver a healthy baby. With In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), the chance of conceiving multiple babies is about 25% compared to a natural conception where the rate is about 1-2%.
Although having twins or even triplets may be your “dream” outcome, multiple pregnancy is associated with many health risks.
What are risks associated with multiple pregnancy?
The risks, which begin from the first trimester include:
- Hypertension and diabetes
- Miscarriage of one or more babies
- Caesarean section and haemorrhage after delivery
- Premature babies which require admission to neonatal ICU * (about 60% of twins are born premature)
- Growth restriction of the babies and low birth weight
- Congenital abnormalities
- Cerebral palsy and demise of a baby
- Postnatal problems like depression and breastfeeding difficulties
It is important to note that healthy and fit individuals may also experience the above risks.
What is single embryo transfer and why should you choose it?
Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET) is a procedure where one good embryo, selected from a larger number of available embryos, is placed in the womb after the eggs have been fertilised. This embryo may be from a fresh or a previous cycle. The main aim of eSET is to reduce the multiple pregnancy rate associated with replacing more than one embryo.
Does eSET reduce your chances of getting pregnant?
The chance of conceiving with double embryo transfer is about 38% for patients between 30 to 35 years old and 42% for those who are less than 30 years old. There is a slight decrease in this rate for eSET. However, eSET has shown to have good pregnancy rates with better long-term benefits in women who are suitable. If you are suitable for eSET, you are likely to conceive with two embryos as with a single embryo transfer, without the risks associated with multiple pregnancy.
Who is suitable for eSET?
We will offer eSET to women with the best chance of achieving a pregnancy. While there are many factors that influence successful conception, women who meet the following criteria are considered suitable for eSET:
- First IVF cycle
- Have at least three good embryos on day 3 or three good blastocysts on day 5
- Having embryos available for cryopreservation
Our embryologists will grade each embryo as they are growing based on a detailed assessment under the microscope and your doctor will further discuss the option of eSET with you throughout your IVF journey.
Although the desire for parenthood can be strong and you have many decisions to make, it is important to choose the option that suits your personal and practical limits. Please feel free to clarify any doubts that you may have with us so that we can help you make the best choice.
*National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): CG129 Multiple pregnancy
For more inforation on the preparation for the IVF programme, overview of the IVF schedule, risks and complications and the protocols, please click here to read our patient education brochure.