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17-04-2011 | Gynaecology | Article

Elective single embryo transfer minimizes twin birth rate in younger IVF patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: A policy of elective single embryo transfer (eSET) for younger women undergoing IVF would result in less multiple pregnancies and reduced cost, while a policy of double embryo transfer (DET) achieves this goal in older women, show UK study results.

Graham Scotland (University of Aberdeen, Scotland) and colleagues assessed cumulative costs and consequences of DET and eSET at the ages of 32, 36, and 39 years in a cohort of 6,153 women undergoing IVF.

Their findings indicate that, for women aged 32 years, live birth rates are statistically similar after DET and eSET, at 58.5 and 50.4 percent. However, the incremental cost per birth for women of this age using DET rather than eSET was £27,356 (US$44,484; €30,795).

In contrast, for women in the study aged 39 years, live birth rates were higher for DET than eSET, at 37.1 versus 29.4 percent, but the incremental cost per birth compared with eSET was lower than that for women aged 32 years, at £15,539 ($25,280; €17,496).

The researchers believe these cost differences are a result of the lower probability of twin pregnancy and associated complications with DET in older women.

"The greatest challenge in assisted reproduction is to formulate effective and cost-effective strategies of embryo transfer such that the risk of multiples is minimized without sacrificing success rates," concludes the team.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sarah Guy