Deciding how many embryos to transfer can be one of the toughest decisions you make while going through IVF / FET. Some countries have strict guidelines, mainly having to do with age. Here in the US there are not actual “rules”, just unspoken expectations.(Some clinics set their own “rules” but they are not the actual law.)
Most RE’s suggest transferring one or two embryos. It is pretty uncommon to transfer three, and vary rare to transfer more than three at a time.
Generally speaking, the younger you are, the fewer embryos you transfer. But I can say that I was the exception to the rule, our first four fresh cycles we transferred 3 each time. In my opinion age should not be the only factor considered……previous attempts, quality of embryos, and chances of success for each individual patient should also be weighed heavily. In our case, I was very young, 23 when we did our first IVF. But our embryos were not the greatest of quality and we were only able to create 5 embryos (out of 7 eggs retreived) on our first attempt. If there were strict age guidelines in place, I would have only been able to transfer 1!!!
We (infertility patients) are so impatient when it comes to starting our families….(which is perfectly understandable), that sometimes we are eager to transfer more embryos than we should. Yes, this will increase our chances of success, but it will also increase the chances of higher order multiples and the risk that are associated. At the time we think “I don’t mind the risk of multiples….heck, maybe I will have two and be done with it”!!! ( I know I thought that many of times
. But would we really be ok with the decision when we ended up going into pre-term labor and possibly losing the babies?? I am saying this because in all the stories I have I have heard many were the babies were lost because of pre-term labor or other complications. I am not trying to scare anyone, just stating the possible concerns we should all have when deciding how many embryos to transfer.
One good thing about deciding to transfer fewer embryos at a time, is that the FET success rate is as high as the fresh success rate for most clinics. (The stats can lie about this….most FET’s are done with “left-over” embryos, therefor they yield a slightly lower success rate.) When FET’s are done with quality embryos, they are just as successful!!! Transferring one at a time, possibly two, and freezing the other quality embryos can give you a great chance at success. Just something to think about
The reason I brought this topic up is because I was reading on a forum not too long ago and read someone thread about “really high beta levels”. The poster initially thought that her relative was likely pregnant with twins….come to find out she had transferred 6 embryos (in another country) and was pregnant with 4 babies (all had heartbeats and appeared to be healthy). Her doctor then recommended that she have selective reduction done (where babies are killed so that there is only a single or twin pregnancy).
Now I know I am venturing into a very controversial topic, but it is something that often comes up in the infertility world……
The lady went on to terminate two of her babies, and ended up with a healthy twin pregnancy. I don’t want this post to be about my views one way or another on this topic, but I thought it would be interesting to get everyone’s thoughts on selective reduction. Considering that we are all TRYING to have kids, you would not think this was much of an issue, but it happens more often than one might think.
Let me know your thoughts on selective reduction….do you think everyone should be able to choose how many kids they have…..or do you feel like people are responsible for how ever many they decide to put back???????