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IVF technique cuts multiple births

21st February 2008

A new study has revealed how the use of a targeted IVF technique could significantly reduce risky multiple births without restricting the overall chances of pregnancy.

Researchers found that by using a single more mature embryo in certain women would cut multiple births.

The study looked at two groups of patients at the Assisted Conception Unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London. In findings published in the journal BJOG, doctors also revealed that pregnancy rates also increased because by selecting from older embryos it enabled them to identify those with the best chance of implanting in the womb.

Multiple births often arise because at present several embryos are placed in the womb to increase the chance of one surviving.

Organisations involved in fertility treatment including the HFEA, the British Fertility Society and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists want to see the multiple birth rate fall because of the risk it creates for the babies and mothers.

The research involved some women offered a blastocyst, a five-day-old fertilised egg which has already started to develop into placenta and foetus.

Dr Yakoub Khalaf, who led the study, said: “It is a myth that single embryo transfer lowers the success rate of pregnancy. If the right patients are selected for blastocyst transfer, success rates can be maintained and multiple pregnancy can be significantly reduced.?

The British Fertility Society welcomed the study findings but also called for couples to have access to the three cycles of IVF treatment that NICE guidelines recommend.

 

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