Why should I recommend single embryo transfer (SET)?

Because SET reduces the chance of some women having a multiple birth, which carries serious health risks to both mother and babies. Find out more about the health risks.


Won’t moving to eSET mean that NHS patients are disadvantaged and private ones will incur increased costs?

Evidence suggests that correctly targeted eSET, when coupled with frozen follow-up treatment, does not substantially reduce pregnancy rates. However, for patients whose initial treatment with a fresh embryo is unsuccessful, treatment with previously frozen embryos may incur additional costs (depending on the policy of their Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and clinic). Therefore, a responsible multiple birth minimisation strategy should consider eSET irrespective of funding source (private or NHS).


What criteria should be used to select patients to be offered eSET?

Although the final decision ultimately rests with the individual clinician, guidance issued by the British Fertility Society and Association of Clinical Embryologists should be considered. These guidelines can be found here, on the website of the Human Fertility journal.


What is the HFEA’s policy on multiple births?

The HFEA is committed to a maximum multiple birth rate of no more than 10% of live births. Therefore, all IVF clinics are required to develop and implement a multiple births minimisation strategy that sets out how the centre plans to meet this target. Find out more about the HFEA policy.


The current method of presenting results is an obstacle to moving to eSET. How will the HFEA ensure that success rates are presented fairly?

The HFEA is changing the way it presents statistics on individual clinics success rates. Birth per embryo transfer will replace birth per cycle starting, which will favour clinics with a successful eSET strategy in place. Clinics’ multiple birth rate and already presented on the HFEA website and compared to the national average, so patients can take this into consideration wihen choosing a clinic.

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Advising patients about SET

The Infertility Newtowk UK have published a factsheet explaining why and how fertility clinics should be advising their patients to have a single embryo transfer (SET).

Download the factsheet (305 KB)