When it comes to frozen embryo transfers, the prevailing belief among both patients and doctors used to be that more was better. Because not every transfer is going to be a success in IVF or embryo adoption and couples were often putting all of their hopes into one transfer, doctors would use multiple embryos in an effort to increase their chances of success. As transfer methods and embryology have advanced, though, attitudes are shifting. One study published by the University of Colorado found that transferring a single embryo actually leads to better outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
The study looked at 263,375 in vitro fertilization cycles and found that embryo transfers that used a single embryo had better outcomes. When multiple embryos were used, the chances of multiple births increased. Multiples typically mean more hospital time for both mom and baby, and often expensive on-going outpatient treatment for the babies. This disparity in expense is why more insurance companies are covering single embryo transfer instead of multiples.
This information has implications for embryo adoption, as well. In most cases, couples won’t adopt a single embryo, but rather all of the remaining embryos that the donating family has to offer. They can work with their fertility doctor to determine whether a single or multiple transfer is right for their situation, but the single embryo transfer is likely to become more and more standard in fertility clinics. You can learn more about embryo transfers and their success rates by visiting EmbryoAdoption.org.