Further evidence of that single embryo transfer provides the best chance of a healthy baby was presented at the 14th World Congress on Human Reproduction, in Melbourne recently.
Siladitya Bhattacharya, from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, told the congress:
“There was once a point when we believed it was OK to produce multiple births – that it was something that came with the territory of assisted reproduction.”
But he said while most twins will do well now thanks to high standards neo natal care there are still risks involved in multiple births for women and babies and also increases health care costs.
In Europe there is a still an IVF twin rate of about 20 per cent and a single embryo transfer rate of 22 per cent.
The multiple birth rate in Australia and New Zealand is 8.2 per cent, according to the 2009 ANZARD data published in November.
At Genea, only five per cent of patients who have a baby have a multiple birth.
Genea CEO, Dr Kylie deBoer said:
“As the first clinic in Australia to introduce routine single embryo transfer, Genea welcomes industry attention to reducing the percentage of multiple births.
“While many clinics transfer more than one embryo to try to improve their chances of success, our technology allows us to achieve higher success rates while transferring a single, carefully selected embryo.
“This results in 95 per cent of our patients, who have a baby, having a live singleton birth. With our commitment to research and development, we would aim to increase this even further in the near future.”
Bhattacharya also presented research that showed that infertile patients will often push for a double embryo transfer – preferring the prospect of a disabled baby to that of no baby at all.
But he also presented UK data that showed the odds of a term singleton birth after elective single embryo transfer was almost five times higher than for patients who received double embryo transfers.
He said that the lower chance of a live birth from an elective single embryo transfer was overcome by the use of additional cycles using thawed embryos.
Genea Scientific Director Steven McArthur, said:
“This is further evidence that single blastocyst transfer is absolutely the most efficient way to achieve pregnancies.”
Advances in the techniques for freezing and thawing embryos mean Genea patients are more likely than ever to achieve a family from one cycle of IVF using single embryo transfers.
For the first time, new data from Genea – presented at the congress – shows that there is no significant difference between the pregnancy rates from fresh embryos compared to embryos that have been snap frozen and implanted at a later date.
Almost 50 per cent of frozen embryo transfers in Genea patients aged less than 38 will result in a pregnancy. That compares to a success rate of less than 25 per cent just five years ago.
It means patients who are not successful with their first embryo transfer and those who have had an IVF baby and are trying again, are still likely to achieve a healthy baby when they return for a subsequent frozen embryo transfer.
Mr McArthur, added:
“The improved outcomes from the transfer of frozen embryos are a reflection of Genea’s continued focus on improvements in all areas of the science of IVF. We continue to lead the way in the development and implementation of world leading science to the benefit of patients seeking a pregnancy from IVF.”
The success from frozen embryos supports the Genea approach of single embryo transfer – minimising the risks associated with multiple births. In turn, this is leading to a reduction in the number of cycles, which involve hormone stimulation, for many patients.
Prof Mark Bowman, Genea’s Medical Director, said:
“We are very focussed on minimising the number of times a woman needs to have ovarian stimulation – to develop eggs and then embryos.
“The majority of subsequent frozen embryo transfers can be undertaken in the patient’s natural ovulation cycle. An equivalent high success rate from frozen transfers, as for fresh transfers, means less medical intervention for our patients.”