Single embryo transfer is a type of in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique in which a single, healthy embryo is implanted in the uterus, rather than the multiple embryos implanted in traditional IVF procedures. Single embryo transfer (also called elective single embryo transfer, or e-SET) has increased in popularity in recent years, and in healthy, eligible patients, the pregnancy rates for those choosing single embryo transfer are equivalent to the rtes of those opting for multiple embryo transfer. In addition to decreasing the risk of multiple births, the technique also decreases the health risks associated with carrying multiple fetuses to term, including serious health risks to both the mother and the fetuses.
The technique for single embryo transfer is like any other IVF procedure: after undergoing a course of medication to stimulate egg production, the eggs are harvested in an outpatient procedure and combined in a laboratory setting with sperm from the male donor. Once these eggs are fertilized, a single embryo is implanted in the uterus during a simple outpatient procedure which is often performed under light sedation. Additional fertilized embryos may be frozen for future IVF attempts.
While advances in IVF techniques in recent years have increased the likelihood of pregnancies in single embryo transfer recipients, research indicates the best candidates for the procedure are women who are under 37 years of age, who are capable of producing healthy, viable eggs, and who have not undergone three or more failed IVF procedures. If you’re considering IVF, your clinician will be able to help you decide if single embryo transfer is an option you should consider.