Currently in Europe (and Ireland is no exception) about 25% of all pregnancies following IVF are twins.
Multiple pregnancy is undoubtedly associated with increased risks for both infants and mothers. Many European countries have guidelines for the elective transfer of a single embryo during IVF (rather than a double embryo transfer), particularly in couples with a good prognosis for pregnancy.
In the absence of any national policy, Merrion Fertility Clinic introduced an elective single embryo transfer (eSET) policy in January 2008. For couples deemed to have a very good prognosis, a single high quality embryo is transferred and any other good quality embryos are frozen for subsequent use.
After six years of refining this eSET policy our results are excellent. In 2014, over 66% of couples who had a single embryo transferred under this policy conceived with the fresh cycle and all of these couples still have embryos frozen. There have been no multiple pregnancies in this group.
This policy has proven very acceptable to our patients and we believe it is the way forward. While it may take a little longer to achieve the pregnancy if it occurs on the frozen cycle, the benefits in terms of reducing maternal and foetal morbidity are enormous. Unfortunately, not all couples have a very good prognosis and we continue to transfer two embryos in these cases.