Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Fertility Research and Practice








BACKGROUND: The transfer of multiple embryos after in vitro fertilization (IVF) increases the risk of twins and higher-order births. Multiple births are associated with significant health risks and maternal and neonatal complications, as well as physical, emotional, and financial stresses that can strain families and increase the incidence of depression and anxiety disorders in parents. Elective single embryo transfer (eSET) is among the most effective methods to reduce the risk of multiple births with IVF.

MAIN BODY: Current societal guidelines recommend eSET for patientsprognosis, yet even this approach is not widely applied. Many patients and clinicians have been reluctant to adopt eSET due to studies reporting higher live birth rates with the transfer of two or more embryos rather than eSET. Additional barriers to eSET include risk of treatment dropout after embryo transfer failure, patient preference for twins, a lack of knowledge about the risks and complications associated with multiple births, and the high costs of multiple IVF cycles. This review provides a comprehensive summary of strategies to increase the rate of eSET, including personalized counseling, access to educational information regarding the risks of multiple pregnancies and births, financial incentives, and tools to help predict the chances of IVF success. The use of comprehensive chromosomal screening to improve embryo selection has been shown to improve eSET outcomes and may increase acceptance of eSET.

CONCLUSIONS: eSET is an effective method for reducing multiple pregnancies resulting from IVF. Although several factors may impede the adoption of eSET, there are a number of strategies and tools that may encourage the more widespread adoption of eSET in clinical practice.


Reproduced with permission of BioMed Central Ltd. Fertility Research and Practice

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Open Access