What are the Risks Involved in Single Embryo Transfer?

In a single embryo transfer, only one fertilized egg is placed into the recipient’s uterus. The process is similar to In Vitro fertilization, but rather than multiple eggs being placed into the uterus, only one is used. Below is an explanation of the risks involved in a single embryo transfer.

Failure to Become Pregnant

Although studies indicate that younger woman have an excellent chance of becoming pregnant with a single embryo transfer, the data is too raw and unsubstantiated to provide any clarity. As such, it is quite possible that the recipient will not become pregnant after the single embryo transfer.

The reasoning of why multiple fertilized eggs are inserted during a typical In Vitro fertilization procedure is that many eggs die or fail to attach. As the procedure is costly and invasive, most physicians recommend that as many as five eggs be inserted at once to increases the chances of a pregnancy. What usually happens, though, is that a woman becomes pregnant with more than one baby at a single time.

Women wanting to avoid becoming pregnant with multiple babies often elect to have only a single embryo transferred. However, the difficulty with this is that if she does not become pregnant after the transfer, she may need to undergo the procedure once again, potentially inserting more embryos the second time around.

Non-Viable Embryo

Although all due care is taken to ensure than an embryo is viable prior to being inserted into the recipient, there is no knowing when an embryo may become non-viable after insertion. If only a single embryo is inserted and it later becomes non-viable, for whatever reason, the recipient will most likely not become pregnant.

Multiple Procedure Potential

If the first, single embryo procedure fails, a recipient may need to undergo multiple insertion procedures. Not only is each procedure charged separately, often costing $10,000 or more, but each also takes a toll on the woman’s reproductive organs. A recipient’s body must heal after each procedure, and the more traumas it experiences, the longer it may take to heal. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that a second, single embryo transfer will be successful the second time. As such, the recipient may decide to insert more embryos during subsequent procedures.

The toll on a recipient’s reproductive organs that multiple insertions can cause may also make it more difficult for the woman to become pregnant at all. Even if her reproductive organs are in great shape, a recipient’s organs may not be able to withstand and be healthy after multiple procedures. Potentially, this could result in her becoming eventually infertile and unable to be helped by single embryo transfers.

Medical Risks and Complications

Should a recipient become pregnant after a single embryo transfer, she is still subject to all the typical medical issues that commonly befall expectant women. These include illnesses that potentially harm the child. Furthermore, because her body has previously experienced a trauma in becoming pregnant, her body may be less able to heal itself or fight against certain illnesses or conditions.

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