Transferring the Embryos

Pregnancy Miracle

Pregnancy Miracle By Lisa

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Assuming all goes well, the next hurdle is embryo transfer. When you arrive at the clinic for transfer your doctor gives you the latest update on the development of your embryos and advises whether any embryos are available for freezing. Your doctor explains i How many embryos have developed normally

1 The quality of your embryos as assessed by the embryologist (see Chapter 7 )

1 How many embryos can be frozen (see Chapter 7 )

If possible, both you and your partner should attend the clinic because you may well need each other to help take in all this information. Plus, embryo transfer is such a special moment in an IVF cycle, you'll want to share the experience.

Even if you have more than one embryo available for transfer, most clinics recommend that only one embryo be transferred. Your doctor will explain the pros and cons of having two embryos transferred depending on your age and the quality of your embryos. Basically, however, transferring two embryos:

i May slightly increase your chance of pregnancy 1 Definitely increases your risk of having twins

So, you need to weigh up the risk of having twins (which I explain in Chapter 10) against the possibility of a small increase in your chance of becoming pregnant if two embryos are transferred.

However, your doctor may recommend transferring two embryos in the following circumstances:

1 The embryologists judge that the embryos have a slightly reduced chance of survival.

1 You're over 38 years of age and/or have already had several unsuccessful IVF attempts.

Reducing the risk of multiple births

In the early days of IVF each patient had all her available embryos transferred at the same time, since each embryo had a very slim chance of surviving and the technique of freezing embryos hadn't been worked out. Yet the chance of pregnancy was still extremely low. However, over time laboratory techniques improved and embryos had a greater chance of surviving. In the 1980s and early 1990s, IVF often hit the headlines when record multiple births were reported. Between 1982 and 1990 the number of triplets and quadruplets born in Australia tripled.

This trend caused concern among obstetricians and paediatricians because of the greater risks of multiple births to mothers and babies. In 1988 the Fertility Society of Australia, the professional society for practitioners in IVF, recommended that no more than three embryos be transferred in any one cycle.

Today, the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee, the body that sets the standards for Australian IVF clinics, identifies as one of its priorities a reduction in the number of multiple births, including twins, resulting from IVF. The committee recommends that only one embryo be transferred in women under 35 and no more than two in women aged between 35 and 40.

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