Single Embryo Transfer (SET)


The goal of IVF has always been the creation of a single baby from a single embryo, and now it’s finally possible”.   – Dr. Robert E. Anderson

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For many years we have been working to improve the outcomes of our IVF cycles by individualizing treatment plans and constantly improving conditions in the laboratory. This has resulted in some amazing success in several groups of women that we have treated.

Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) - Blastocyst Biopsy - Single Embryo Transfer Outcomes

We have suspected for a long time that the efficiency of IVF is limited primarily by the genetic makeup of the embryos transferred, which is largely determined by the genetic makeup of the eggs.’ Since we have been performing Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) on blastocysts (Day 5 or 6 embryos),’ we have found that this is indeed the case. ‘ Because the pregnancy rates resulting from PGS are so high, we have found that we only need to transfer one embryo for most women to be successful.’ We have obtained a clinical pregnancy rate of 88% with an ongoing pregnancy rate of 71% when one genetically normal embryo is transferred (women of all ages, average age 36.5 years) .’ The embryo implantation rate for this group is 88%.’ This compares to the results from women using egg donors who have not done PGS, where we have an ongoing /live birth rate of 91% with an embryo implantation rate of 76%.

Because of the number of multiple pregnancies generated when this kind of success is realized, we are now advocating the transfer of a single embryo in situations where women from these two groups have a number of good embryos available.’ Because our embryo freezing protocol using vitrification has resulted in ongoing pregnancy rates of 60 – 82%’ for women not using egg donors and over 70% for women using egg donors, we feel confident that even if a pregnancy is not achieved when one embryo is transferred the first time,’ we will ultimately be successful using those embryos that remain frozen.

This is a truly remarkable development that has been years in the making. Multiple pregnancy is not a desirable outcome for many couples and avoidance of the potential complications of a multiple pregnancy is especially appealing for all. It is also making IVF much more cost effective to have such a high rate of success and that is a benefit for everyone we treat.