Single Embryo Transfer vs. Multiple Embryo Transfer

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So, how many embryos are you planning to transfer?  In the world of IVF this is one of the most common questions that is asked while cycling.  Although the question is one you’ll get asked many times, the decision is DEEPLY PERSONAL and should only be made by you, your partner, and your doctor.  It’s a decision that can be life-changing and one that can be hard to make.

For us, the answer was always only one.  We were only ever comfortable with one and that is what our doctor recommended based on our age and fertility health.  We were aiming not to just get pregnant, but for the healthiest pregnancy that we could hope for.  Unfortunately, 1 fresh and 2 frozen cycles later, we hadn’t achieved a pregnancy at all, but had always stuck to our guns that we would only ever transfer one embryo.

For some people, two is a better option.  Age, fertility health, multiple failed cycles, recommendations of the doctor/embryologist, etc. can all be determining factors on whether a single or a multiple embryo transfer is best.  For people without insurance coverage, sometimes two seems like a better choice because it is a more aggressive approach and could possibly prevent having to do multiple cycles, which can cause financial and emotional burdens.  Maybe you only ended up with two embryos and your clinic is insisting on transferring both.  Or maybe your clinic will only allow for one embryo transfer at a time.  There are a multitude of situations and reasons as to why you would or have to chose one way or the other.

As you can see, there can be many medical and even personal reasons behind your choice of how many embryos to transfer and there really is no right or wrong answer.  You have to look in your heart and go with your gut.  No one can tell you the “right” answer except for you.  That being said, IVF cycles can cost us our life savings.  We are paying thousands of dollars to these doctors for their expertise and knowledge to get us pregnant.  They have seen the different situations, the different diagnoses, the different embryo qualities, etc. and their recommendations should certainly be taken into serious consideration as well.

I am currently in the 2ww (2 week wait).  I just had my 4th cycle of IVF, 2nd fresh.  I ended up with 10 eggs retrieved, 5 fertilized, and 3 that made it where the embryologist wanted them on day 3.  Everything about this cycle was different.  Our embryologist wanted to do a 3 day transfer rather than a 5 and he was insistent on transferring 2 since 2 of the 3 embryos were the best quality and it didn’t sound like the 3rd would end up making it.  I was devastated and torn about the decision.  I knew that I could go against what he said, I knew that it was our choice ultimately, but I also knew deep down in my heart that it was time for us to ramp up and take a risk.  We needed to be more aggressive, it was time.  I was afraid of what my husband would say because just a few days prior he was still stuck on transferring just one, but after we got the embryo report and we figured we would have none to freeze, I think his mind started to change.  We made a very tough decision I never thought we’d have to make and we transferred both of our embryos.  One 8-cell graded high and one 8-cell graded low.  We feel 100% confident with our decision and have nothing but hope and faith that this is it for us.

I hope that what can be taken from my story is that things can change quickly and the best thing you can do is adapt to those changes.  I knew that we were being stubborn by not taking the 31 years of experience my embryologist had into serious consideration so that’s what we decided to do and ultimately I think it ended up being the best and the “right” decision.  I have no doubt in my mind that this will be a successful cycle for us, finally, but I also know that even if for some reason it doesn’t work out, I still feel as though we made the right choice.

Whether you decide on one or two if that is a decision you get to make, you have to make sure that you feel confident in the decision and know that you are taking the right steps towards success.

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About Author

Elena Ridley

My name is Elena, author of Baby Ridley Bump. My husband and I got married in 2011 and have been trying to start a family ever since. We had no idea that we would be dealt the card of infertility but have decided to become advocates for infertility awareness and are sharing our story and pursuing every avenue we can to make our miracle.