Why one embryo may be better than two

Embryo,_8_cellsWhen it comes to embryo transfer, some people still worry that putting one back will reduce their chances of success. In fact, for those who have good quality embryos putting them both back will just increase your chances of having a multiple pregnancy – and although twins or triplets may sound like a wonderful idea when you are trying to conceive, it is the biggest health risk from fertility treatment. Now, some interesting new research suggests that perhaps it isn’t just those who have good embryos who should be having one embryo transferred.

A study by scientists at Nurture in Nottingham found that putting back one low quality embryo alongside a high quality one reduced the chance of becoming pregnant by more than a quarter. It was only when neither of the embryos were good quality that putting back two actually increased rather than decreased the chances of a successful pregnancy. You can read more about the research here.

This does back up the idea that single embryo transfer is the best option for many – but not all – fertility patients. It should always be something you discuss with the team treating you but it is really important to be aware that putting back more than one embryo may not increase the chances of success.

After embryo transfer…

One of the most alarming moments in an IVF cycle – for me at least – was standing up for the first time after embryo transfer.  I could never quite get over the idea that an embryo could just fall straight out when you get up after the transfer. Speaking to other people since, I’ve learnt that I’m not the only one to feel that way. It’s quite common to worry that you might somehow jeopardise your chances of success if you stand up too quickly – or if you do too much in the days after embryo transfer.

Some complementary therapists advise a couple of days bed rest after embryo transfer, but research shows that this makes absolutely no difference to outcomes at all – and you can bet your bottom dollar that fertility specialists would all be encouraging their patients to stay in bed if there was any chance that this could possibly increase success rates.

When fertility treatment doesn’t work, we want to know why and start looking for reasons.  Most often, there is no clear reason but you can rest assured that the one thing that really won’t make a difference is how long you spend lying down in the first couple of days after embryo transfer.