Less Aggressive IVF Treats Infertility
Live Birth Rate Similar Over Time With 1 Embryo Transfer, With Fewer Multiple Births
WebMD News Archive
IVF Lite continued...
Only one multiple birth occurred among the 92 women who delivered after
getting the milder version of IVF, compared to 26 multiple births among 102
women who gave birth after traditional IVF.
The findings about the per cycle success rate with single-embryo, less
aggressive treatment has been reported in previous studies.
But the researchers argue that the similar success rate over time, coupled
with a dramatically reduced risk of multiple births, and lower overall costs
due to fewer multiple pregnancies, makes the less aggressive approach the
better option for infertile women with a good chance of achieving a live birth
The study is reported in the March 3 issue of the The Lancet.
“Our findings should encourage more widespread use of mild ovarian
stimulation and single embryo transfer in clinical practice,” the researchers
“However, adoption of our mild IVF treatment strategy would need to be
supported by counseling of both patients and health care providers to redefine
IVF success and explain the risks associated with multiple pregnancies, and by
[supporting payment plans] that encourage, rather than penalize, the practice
of single embryo transfer,” the researchers say.
In the U.S., only a handful of states mandate coverage for infertility
treatment, meaning the vast majority of infertile couples pay for such
Because per cycle costs are so steep, infertile couples seeking treatment
have traditionally been willing to accept the risk of multiple births in order
to maximize their chances of success in one try.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends that no
more than two embryos be transferred per cycle in women who are 37 or younger
with a good chance of achieving success with IVF.
ASRM president Steven Ory, MD, tells WebMD that single-embryo transfers are
increasingly being performed, but there is still far to go.
Ory says whether patients are footing the bill or not, they tend to believe
that their chance of success is strongly tied to the number of embryos
“The biggest complication of IVF is the high multiple pregnancy rate, and we
are working very, very hard to get that down,” he says. “We regard
single-embryo transfer as the ideal for women with a good chance of achieving a