Submitted by Shelby D Burns Wed 04/21/2010
Dish Many grateful parents have IVF to thank for their beautiful babies. Many times those children include sets of twins or triplets. And while multiples may be a blessing for some, they do bring their own set of risks and complications as well as unforeseen expenses. Statistics show a high percentage of twins are born prematurely often times resulting in physical impairment, learning disabilities, and even death. Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco has been taking steps to minimize multiples and increase the number of healthy singleton births. “We have worked actively to increase pregnancy rates and decrease the number of multiples,” commented Carolyn Givens, MD. “Balancing high pregnancy rates with low pregnancy risk improves pregnancy outcomes.” The center recently completed an analysis of their Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET) program for 2009 and found that they had reduced twins significantly and eliminated triplets altogether. Of the 79 patients who elected eSET, there were 38 pregnancies, two of which yielded identical twins and no triplets. Patients who choose eSET have superior pregnancy rates with the single embryo transplant. When using eSET, embryos are grown for five days until they reach the blastocyst stage, which lets the doctors choose the healthiest embryo for transfer. “For a lot of patients, there is no advantage to transferring more than one embryo. It is all about educating our patients about these numbers and the potential risks of twin pregnancies. Many will, when given this information, choose to transfer only one embryo,” says Carolyn Givens, MD.