Your clinic will recommend single embryo transfer (SET) if they feel it is the best option for you, and if they are confident that your embryos are healthy and likely to implant. This is because you are more likely to become pregnant with twins or more babies if more than one embryo is transferred.
In Sweden, where SET is more widely used, recent research shows that, in appropriate patients, pregnancy rates are maintained when frozen follow-up treatment is included. For some women, the chances of becoming pregnant seem to be even higher with blastocyst transfer than with cleavage stage embryo transfer.
The procedure for SET is the same as that for conventional IVF or ICSI (in vitro fertilisation or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) – the only difference is that only one embryo is transferred:
"Multiple births as a result of IVF increase the risks of death and disability, not only from the more complex pregnancy and delivery, but also from prematurity. The best way to ensure a healthy baby and avoid the trauma of neonatal intensive care is by single embryo transfer."
Dr Alun Elias-Jones, Consultant Community Paediatrician, Leicester
If you are a suitable patient and single embryo transfer (SET) or single blastocyst transfer (SBT) is correctly administered, it largely removes the risks of multiple pregnancy without significantly reducing your chance of a successful outcome.
The issues to consider are:
Single embryo transfer (SET) is not suitable for everyone and your clinic will only recommend it if they consider you to have a good chance of conceiving and therefore to be at high risk of multiple birth. The type of criteria your clinic is likely to use to decide whether you are suitable for SET are:
Other factors may affect your clinic’s recommendation, such as whether you suffer from endometriosis or tubal disease, so you should always discuss any concerns you have with your clinician.