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One Embryo Better than Two in In Vitro Fertilization
Shortly after Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets in January 2009, the children's births went from being miraculous to being scandalous. Word spread that her doctor implanted the so-called "Octomom" with six embryos through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
One of the main reasons the Octomom case generated so much controversy is that fertility experts say the trend in the field of reproductive medicine has been steadily moving away from multiple embryo transfers.
"The single embryo transfer is the way of the future," said Dr. Jeffrey Fisch, medical director of the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Las Vegas, Nev.
A new study published in the British Medical Journal validates that growing trend. The study found that only 27 percent of women who received single embryos gave birth to babies, compared to 42 percent of women who received two embryos -- but multiple embryo implants also accounted for about far more multiple births, which are associated with medical complications including a higher risk of pre-term delivery and gestational diabetes.
If a single embryo transfer is unsuccessful and is followed by a frozen embryo transfer, however, the birth rate is about equal to the birth rate of double embryo transfers, however.
Doctors say the study offers proof that single embryo transfers are an effective and safer way for women to have children through in vitro fertilization, though it's difficult to convince patients.
"It's a useful study," said Fisch. "Anything that moves the public in general to accept the idea that one embryo can make a baby is a move forward."