Latest developments


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Read the latest headlines on single embryo transfer and multiple birth from around the world.

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Press releases and updates


24-09-2014 Information about HFEA consent and multiple births workshops

The HFEA is holding a series of workshops around consent and multiple births.

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13-11-2013 HFEA refocuses the sanctions of its successful multiple births policy

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has today decided to withdraw one of the enforcement powers underpinning its multiple births policy.  

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16-09-2013 Progress in reducing multiple birth rates

Fertility clinics have worked hard to rise to this public health challenge. By implementing and auditing their multiple births minimisation strategies clinics have decreased the UK IVF multiple birth rate each year since 2009, with the aim of reaching 10%

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31-07-2013 What is time-lapse imaging

One of the most challenging decisions for an embryologist is deciding which embryo is the healthiest and will therefore give the best chance of a successful pregnancy. This is becoming more and more important especially if single embryo transfer is to work effectively. The most common method which can be used includes morphological evaluation where an embryo’s cell number, shape and degree of fragmentation is monitored.

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22-02-2013 NICE Fertility guideline published 

Since the 2004 Fertility guideline, there have been advancements in the management of infertility and our understanding of the risks associated with fertility treatment. This knowledge underpins the new guideline, translating into better clinical care for patients.

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31-05-2012 Rachel Cutting wins Healthcare Scientist of the Year

Rachel Cutting has been awarded Healthcare Scientist of the Year for her work in developing national guidelines for the implementation of elective single embryo transfer.

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18-01-2012 Effect of age on decisions about the number of embryos to transfer in assisted conception

Peter Braude, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, comments on a recent study into multiple embryo transfer published in The Lancet.

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07-12-2011 'One at a time' best practice workshops

‘One at a time’ is running a series of workshops for clinic staff in early 2012. The workshops are designed to help and support clinics in achieving the target maximum multiple birth rate, which is currently 15%.

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13-05-2011 Latest figures show multiple births continue to fall

New figures released today show that multiple births from IVF continue to fall. This follows the HFEA’s initiative to reduce multiple births – the single biggest risk of fertility treatment, and is supported by leading professional bodies in the sector. 

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01-04-2010 - Single embryo transfer now demonstrated to have important, positive effects on health outcomes for IVF children and their mothers in Sweden

In a recently published article in Human Reproduction, Swedish researchers have demonstrated that Sweden’s dramatic increase in single embryo transfer (SET) over the last 5 years, to 70% SET, has resulted not only in the expected decrease of multiple  births and associated pre-maturity, but also in measurable, better health outcomes for IVF children and their mothers.

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21-05-2009 - Study finds higher risk of problems for twins born after assisted reproduction (Human Reproduction) - ESHRE website

According to research published the journal Human Reproduction, twins born as a result of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are more likely to be admitted to neonatal intensive care and to be hospitalised in their first three years of life than spontaneously conceived twins. 

Read the press release on the ESHRE website.

Read the full research paper:

Twins born following assisted reproductive technology: perinatal outcomes and admissions to hospital. Human Reproduction. doi:10.1093/humrep/dep173

25-03-2009 - Single embryo transfer is the cheapest and most effective strategy for assisted reproduction ESHRE website

Transferring single embryos to women’s wombs over several assisted reproduction cycles that use both fresh and frozen embryos is more effective and cheaper than transferring two or more embryos at one time, according to data from the world’s longest running series of patients who choose to have only one embryo implanted per cycle – elective single embryo transfer (eSET). Read more on the ESHRE website.

Read the relating full research papers:

Elective single embryo transfer with cryopreservation improves the outcome and diminishes the costs of IVF/ICSI. Human Reproduction, Vol.1, No.1 pp. 1–8, 2009 (206 Kb)

Cost-effectiveness of seven IVF strategies: results of a Markov decision-analytic model. 
Human Reproduction, Vol.1, No.1 pp. 1–8, 2009 (257 Kb)

04-02-09 - HFEA has written to NHS Directors of Public Health about multiple births and commissioning IVF services HFEA website

In February 2009, the HFEA's Interim Chief Executive, Alan Doran wrote to the NHS Directors of Public Health to outline the importance of ensuring that commissioning strategies are consistent with the HFEA's new multiple births policy.

09-07-08 - Women unaware of increased health risks associated with multiple pregnancy

Women are unaware of the increased health risks that are associated with multiple pregnancy, a new survey has found. The survey, which was conducted to support the One at a Time national strategy, was carried out amongst the general public to establish women’s attitudes to fertility treatment and multiple pregnancy. 

08-07-08 - Fertility experts criticise new twins research

Experts in fertility treatment have criticised new research which claims that women are being misled over the risks of having twins. The research undertaken by Dr Norbert Gleicher from the Centre of Human Reproduction in New York claims that  giving birth to twins is no more risky than singleton births.

27-06-08 - Professionals come together to reduce risk of multiple pregnancy

Doctors, embryologists, nurses, other clinical staff, patient groups and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have come together to launch a new national strategy to reduce the number of multiple pregnancies – the single biggest health risk of fertility treatment.