Single Transfer, Safer Pregnancy, Healthier Baby
In the nearly forty years since the first IVF baby was born in England, the technology of assisted reproduction has advanced to the point where successful births are now everyday occurrences. In the past, to increase the chance of achieving success, it was common to transfer more than one embryo in an IVF cycle. Unfortunately, transferring multiple embryos also increases the chance of multiple pregnancies which can pose significant risk of health-related complications to both you and your child.
At Reproductive Partners we have developed and refined an optimized protocol of tests and procedures designed to maximize your chance of a healthy single live birth. This makes IVF safer for you while decreasing the chance of prematurity, and certain genetic diseases or chromosomal abnormalities in your baby.
The Reproductive Partners optimized protocol includes four components:
Genetic screening for single gene diseasesThis is something we recommend for anyone planning to conceive. It’s a blood test designed to detect carriers of single gene recessive diseases like cystic fibrosis. You cannot rely on your family history or ethnic background as assurance that you and your partner do not carry the same abnormal gene which can result in the disorder being passed along to your baby.
Preimplantation genetic screening for chromosomal defectsAs part of the IVF process, your embryos are tested for the presence of specific chromosomal abnormalities (PGS) prior to transfer into your uterus. We biopsy the embryo on the fifth day after the egg has been fertilized. Our embryologist removes a few cells from each multi-celled embryo (> 100 cells). The biopsied cells, containing the chromosomes representing that embryo, are specially prepared and couriered to the genetics laboratory for analysis. It takes a couple of days to receive the results so all of your embryos are frozen.
Freezing all embryos and transferring in a frozen embryo cycle at least a month laterThe standard IVF protocol involves the use of hormones to stimulate your egg production. This stimulation can affect your uterine lining and make implanting embryos more difficult. Freezing embryos to allow for the return of genetic screening results also affords your uterine lining the opportunity to return to a normal, non-stimulated state. In fact, even if PGS is not done, the condition of the uterine lining plays such a significant role, that the results from all-freeze cycles are typically superior to fresh transfer directly after ovarian stimulation.
Transferring a single embryoEverything done up to this point has been designed to identify a single one of your embryos that not only has best chance to achieve a pregnancy, but is also less likely to miscarry, or have a gene or chromosome defect. This allows us to transfer the single best embryo, greatly reducing the health-related complications that can accompany multiple pregnancies. Transferring a single embryo is the safest option for both you and your baby.
None of these procedures/tests are required to complete an IVF cycle, and they do increase cost of treatment. However, this optimized protocol can ultimately be less expensive and less stressful if you are able to avoid a failed cycle and the need for additional treatments. You should also consider these options to try to achieve a safer pregnancy for you and a better chance for a full-term baby free of detectable single gene diseases and chromosomal abnormalities.