About one in six IVF pregnancies result in a multiple birth. This is very high compared with natural conceptions of twins which occur in about 1 in 80 births.
With IVF these risks are avoidable with the use of elective single embryo transfer (eSET) and frozen embryo transfer in appropriate patients.
During IVF, eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a dish in the laboratory. The developing embryos can be left for either two to three days, or five to six days before being transferred to the woman’s womb.
Currently, after IVF and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) around 16% of pregnancies are multiples, compared with only 1–2% after natural conception.
This can be directly related to more than one embryo being transferred during IVF and ICSI.
Your clinician will discuss your risk of having a multiple pregnancy and will recommend single embryo transfer if appropriate. Your clinic will discuss the best option for you.
For further information see
Are you going through fertility treatment and want to know more about the risks of multiple births?
Infertility Network UK (INUK) has published a factsheet that addresses a number of common concerns and questions that fertility treatment patients have.
The HFEA want to hear your views on single embryo transfer.
Your feedback will help them develop their approach to the risk of multiple births from fertility treatment.