Guidelines for the Number of Embryos toTransfer Following In Vitro Fertilization
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OBJECTIVE: To review the effect of the number of embryos transferred on the outcome of in vitro fertilization (IVF), to provide guidelines on the number of embryos to transfer in IVF-embryo transfer (ET) in order to optimize healthy live births and minimize multiple pregnancies. OPTIONS: Rates of live birth, clinical pregnancy, and multiple pregnancy or birth by number of embryos transferred are compared. OUTCOMES: Clinical pregnancy, multiple pregnancy, and live birth rates. EVIDENCE: The Cochrane Library and MEDLINE were searched for English language articles from 1990 to April 2006. Search terms included embryo transfer (ET), assisted reproduction, in vitro fertilization (IVF), ntracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), multiple pregnancy, and multiple gestation. Additional references were identified through hand searches of bibliographies of identified articles. VALUES: Available evidence was reviewed by the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Committee and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Committee of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Board of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, and was qualified using the Evaluation of Evidence Guidelines developed by the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Exam. BENEFITS, HARMS, AND COSTS: This guideline is intended to minimize the occurrence of multifetal gestation, particularly high-order multiples (HOM), while maintaining acceptable overall pregnancy and live birth rates following IVF-ET.
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