UK researchers argue only 1 or 2 embryos should be transferred during IVF, depending on age

Researchers from the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority recently announced that the amount of embryos for In-Vitro Fertilization should be limited to one or two, depending on age.

The study shows women ages 40 and older face more health complications, for themselves and the baby, by transferring three or more embryos per cycle because the chances of giving birth to twins or triplets is higher. More than three embryos transferred does not increase the chances of a 40+ woman having a healthy baby. They state that women under 40 should only transfer one.

Others argue that there’s more variables aside from age that should be considered. Dr. Glenn Schattman, of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, agrees to increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy while reducing the chance for multiple births. However, he feels transferring three embryos is acceptable when considering other factors, such as the woman’s age, the amount of failed IVF attempts, and the quality of her embryo.

With that in mind, Schattman concludes that each individual’s situation is different, and therefore, cannot set the same rule for everybody, depending solely on age.

Dr. AJ Jain, of Delaware Valley, agrees with Dr. Schattman. “You can’t set absolute standards across the board or you will not serve certain patients well (like a 42 year old). However, I think they should make strict standards for women under age 35. Cornell does not do a lot of blast transfers so nearly all of their patients get two on day three. Hence Schattman’s 2.1 ave in < 35 year olds, despite being president of SART. I think the study has holes but the overall gist is important.”