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In Defense of IVF Twins

Slate,  Aug 15, 2011
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While "single embryo transfer" is a welcome treatment option for patients who want one baby at a time, there are still good reasons to keep the old method of throwing a bunch of embryos into a uterus and seeing what sticks, particularly for women who want to get pregnant as quickly and cheaply as possible. The most obvious is that despite recent reports of promising pregnancy rates, an IVF patient's chances of conceiving when only one embryo is transferred are simply not as high as when more embryos are transferred, according to the results of a study published last month in Reproductive BioMedicine Online. Doctors at five Quebec fertility clinics performed 1,353 IVF cycles on patients ranging from 22 to 46 years old, with an average age of 37. They transferred one embryo in half the cases and two or more in the rest. The clinical pregnancy rate was 32 percent for the single transfer group compared with 42 percent for the other method. That's a significant difference in a field in which doctors covet every percentage point and patients have thousands of dollars on the line — and, in many cases, little time to waste.

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