Single IVF Babies May Be Healthiest
Single Babies Born From Infertility Treatments as Healthy as Those Conceived the Old-Fashioned Way
U.S. Patients Older
Women in Europe undergoing assisted reproduction are more likely to be considered good candidates for single transfer than those in the U.S., says American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Executive Director Robert Rebar, MD.
That's because assisted reproduction is routinely paid for by government health plans in Europe, whereas infertile American couples usually end up paying for infertility treatments out of pocket. As a result, women in the U.S. tend to be older and thus have a harder time getting pregnant.
Rebar spoke to WebMD Tuesday from the European meeting.
"The average age of a woman undergoing IVF in Europe is 32, while the average age in the U.S. is 37," Rebar says. "That is a significant difference. While the goal is certainly single-embryo transfer, only a small minority of patients in the U.S. would qualify for it."
Last fall, the ASRM, in conjunction with the Society for Assisted Reproduction Technology, issued new guidelines on embryo transfers. The groups now call for no more than two embryos to be transferred in women under the age of 35 who have a reasonably good chance of having a successful pregnancy.
And it calls on doctors to consider transferring a single embryo in patients with the highest likelihood of pregnancy. That means those undergoing their first cycle of assisted reproduction who have more than one good-quality embryo suitable for freezing.
Though it is too soon to know for sure if infertility clinics have changed their practices as a result of the new guidelines, Rebar says he believes they have. He says it is impossible to say how many American women seeking treatment for infertility are good candidates for single embryo transfer.