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IVF: Are 3 Embryos Too Many to Transfer?

No Justification for More Than 2, Study Finds

60% of IVF Twin Deliveries Preterm

Infertility specialist Liv Bente Romundstad, MD, PhD, of Norway’s St. Olavs University Hospital and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, says the large number of multiple births in the U.S. resulting from IVF procedures illustrates the problem with multiple embryo transfers.

According to a 2009 CDC report:

  • About half of IVF procedures in the U.S. involve the transfer of two embryos, 23% involve three, and around 10% involve four or five embryos.
  • Close to 1 in 3 IVF births involves twins.
  • 60% of IVF-related twin deliveries were preterm, compared to around 11% of single deliveries from single-fetus pregnancies.

“It is still common in the United States for doctors to transfer three or more embryos,” Romundstad says. “This study shows that three embryos does not result in more live births and it does result in more complications.” 

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