Fertility Blog

Building healthy families, one baby at a time

Multiple gestation—twins, triplets, or more—increases more than just the number of babies. It also increases risks to both baby and mother. Multiples increase the risk of miscarriage, early delivery, and low birth weight. Multiples have a higher risk of cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, birth defects, and cognitive challenges, leading to more problems in school. Mothers of multiples are also more likely to contend with more problems during pregnancy—some potentially serious, such as an increase in diabetes and high blood pressure. They may also experience more problems after delivery, both medical and psychological.

However, a variety of technologies have improved reliability, consistency, and pregnancy rates and reduced the number of embryos transferred. These include:

  • Improved egg production
  • Extended embryo culture for 5–7 days to the blastocyst stage
  • Embryo testing to make sure only healthy embryos are transferred
  • Vitrification techniques that allow us to store embryos with high fidelity

Rather than transferring multiple embryos, we now recommend transferring just one, which most of our patients agree to do. With a single embryo transferred, these patients are seeing exceptional pregnancy rates—50-75 percent per transfer with IVF. The multiple gestation rate is very low and the resulting children are more often born healthy and full term.

At the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society this month, we had an opportunity to present our data—a follow-up to previous studies presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in 2014. In this paper, we showed the clear benefits of singleton gestation in reducing the risk of preterm labor. Our singleton pregnancies after single embryo transfer delivered a full month later than twins, a clear benefit to both mother and child.

Pacific Fertility Center is a national and international leader in the technologies that have made single embryo transfer so successful, and we have developed them with one purpose in mind: To help you build a healthy family.

- Philip Chenette, MD

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