It was fifteen years ago that I sat listening to a lecture about the hazards of multiple pregnancy and how IVF had increased multiples so drastically in the preceding ten years. What a depressing thought. I loved helping women conceive. I was living my dream, practicing the infertility and IVF I had learned ten years earlier at the Jones Institute with Howard and Georgeanna Jones themselves as well as Zev Rosenwaks and other masters of the IVF craft.
I had seen quadruplets created first hand as a result of our IVF efforts. But, that was a necessary side effect of transferring a sufficient number of embryos to offer a patient a reasonable chance for a successful transfer. IVF was very inefficient back then and our pregnancy rate even in 1995 with transferring 3-4 embryos was at best 40%.
The sobering truth is that multiple pregnancies — even with ‘just’ twins — are sometimes dangerous to the health and well-being of mother and babies let alone the triplets that were still occurring in 7-10% of the pregnancies at the time.
Since then, thanks to dedicated research to fine-tune IVF, much has been learned about both clinical practice and laboratory technique. IVF is no longer experimental and is currently much more efficient so that the live birth rate for women under 35 years of age at East Coast Fertility is greater than 60% per retrieval.
One of the most important recent developments — single embryo transfer, or SET — is being consistently backed up by study after study as the optimal IVF method for patients with a good prognosis.
The SET Program
The safest pregnancy with the greatest chances for an optimal outcome — a healthy baby — is a singleton pregnancy. In 2007, East Coast Fertility started leading the field of reproductive medicine by establishing our own SET Program.
Confidence in our high quality embryology laboratory and immensely successful embryo cryopreservation program has afforded ECF the ability to limit the number of embryos transferred, essentially eliminating the risk of triplets or more.
We analyzed our success with elective single embryo transfer and compared it to our success with elective double embryo transfer since the opening of our lab in 2005.
Fresh eSET was less likely to result in pregnancy than eDET 39/75=52% vs. 342/561=61% though this difference was not significant statistically. When frozen embryo transfer pregnancies were added this difference was 64% vs. 68.3%. There were no multiples in the eSET group but a 27.8% twin rate in the eDET group with 2 cases of triplets. So to encourage patients with good prognosis to utilize SET, we offer the following incentive:
For the cost of an IVF cycle, SET Program patients will receive free cryopreservation of their embryos, free storage and free frozen embryo transfers until they have a baby. This represents a savings of up to over $12,000. It also ensures a much better chance of a healthy baby.
Is SET for you?
Each patient’s case is considered individually. Each factor impacting conception and pregnancy is taken into account, such as; the age of a patient, embryo quality, the number of prior failed IVF cycles and embryo quality. Single embryo transfer is appropriate in certain situations where the likelihood of a multiple pregnancy is high, including; women younger than 35 years, women who conceived with first IVF cycle, women with concerns about multiple gestation and donor egg recipients.
Single Embryo Transfer is revolutionizing the practice of reproductive medicine, and the team at East Coast Fertility is committed to their collective pledge to lead the way in creating safe, healthy pregnancies.