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Study Finds No Justification for Transfer of 3 or More Embryos for IVF | DeLand Personal Injury Lawyer

Study Finds No Justification for Transfer of 3 or More Embryos for IVF

Transferring more than two embryos during an in vitro fertilization cycle does not improve a woman’s chances of having a baby and can actually be dangerous, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed almost 125,000 IVF cycles performed in the U.K. during a five-year period in one of the largest studies ever to compare outcomes in women under 40 to those of older women.

This conclusion has major implications in the U.S., where 1 in 3 IVF procedures involves the transfer of more than two embryos. While that shows a drop from a decade ago, when closer to 2 out of 3 IVF procedures in the U.S. involved three or more embryos, there is still lots of room for improvement, a study co-author says.

“The practice of transferring multiple embryos is very much market-driven in the United States,” says Dr. Scott M. Nelson, of the University of Glasgow Centre for Population and Health Sciences. “There is an economic incentive for transferring more embryos in the U.S., but no sound medical reason for doing so.”

The 124,148 IVF cycles analyzed by researchers resulted in 33,514 live births. The live birth rate was greater when two embryos were transferred, compared to one, in women under 40 and in those who were older. The transfer of three embryos resulted in a lower birth rate compared to transferring two in the younger women and made no difference in the older women’s outcomes .

Compared to the transfer of a single embryo, the transfer of two or three embryos was linked to a higher risk for all adverse birth outcomes, including preterm delivery and low birth weight. And the overall live birth rate was lower in older women as compared to younger women, however many embryos were transferred.

The large number of multiple births in the U.S. that result from IVF procedures illustrates the problem with transferring multiple embryos. According to a 2009 CDC report:

  • Almost 50 percent of IVF procedures in this country involve the transfer of two embryos, 23 percent involve three, and about 10 percent involve four or five embryos.
  • Almost 1 in 3 IVF births involves twins.
  • 60 percent of IVF-related twin deliveries were preterm, compared to about 11 percent of single deliveries from single-fetus pregnancies.

“A clear implication of our study is that [the] transfer of three embryos should no longer be supported in women of any age,” the study’s authors write.

For more on medical safety issues, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach medical malpractice attorney.

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