Single Embryo Transfer vs Double Embryo Transfer
Infertility is a struggle which faces many men and women.
Through advancements in science, those intended parents who have always dreamed of having children but had less than hopeful prospects can now be given hope.
Through processes like surrogacy and with the help of a surrogate mother, intended parents can, at last, add to their family and experience the joy of parenthood. A surrogate agency in California can assist you in finding a surrogate mother.
However, the decision of embryo transfer is something that you will have to decide.
For example, would you prefer to have a single embryo transfer or a double embryo transfer?
To an intended parent who is just looking into in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy in general, these questions may seem a little daunting. That’s where this article will help.
In this post, we’ll go over both single embryo transfers and double embryo transfers and which might be better for you.
While single embryo transfer and double embryo transfer can be done through other fertility processes, the most popular is in-vitro fertilization or IVF. In-vitro fertilization is typically done at a fertility clinic.
It involves the removal of an egg or a series of eggs that are placed into a petri dish. Those embryos are eventually joined by the man’s sperm. Because the dish offers a secure and small space for the sperm to move around in, fertilization of the egg is quite easy to occur.
Once the egg has been fertilized, the embryo is in either the intended parent’s uterus or the surrogate mother’s uterus. IVF is just one of the initial steps of skirting around infertility so intended parents can start a family.
It’s effective, relatively easy, and can be performed in most fertility clinics.
A surrogate agency in California might suggest that intended parents think about whether or not to implant a single embryo or multiple embryos during the IVF procedure, as many surrogate mothers will have their opinion as well as to which they prefer.
We have found that surrogates are relatively open to the idea of twins, but are not always comfortable with the idea. Both have their advantages but they also have disadvantages.
Single Transfer Embryos
First, we’ll examine what a single embryo transfer, or SET, is. As its name might suggest, single embryo transfers typically involve the selection of one embryo for the IVF cycle.
This embryo may be fresh from the cycle or it may have been frozen from an earlier IVF procedure. Any other embryos that have been collected are likely frozen for later use if needed.
One of the primary reasons that an intended mother or a surrogate mother may want to choose SET is because it limits the risk of multiple births. This event, known as ‘high order multiple births’ can be problematic for both the health of the babies and of the surrogate mother. It should be noted, too, that high order multiple births don’t include twins. It is described as being births that number three or more babies in a single pregnancy.
High order multiple births have often been linked to problems in the development of the babies. For example, babies from multiple births are typically born early.
They also have a lower birth weight. Their health may be less than ideal when growing up. While this isn’t the case with every child, there’s enough of a pattern to concern some doctors.
Single transfers negate this problem. It ensures that only a single child is born at a time, or could possibly split into two. In so doing, the baby has the best chance of developing properly.
At this point, you may be wondering if a single transfer is the right option for you.
After you find a surrogate, both you and their health will be checked thoroughly by a fertility clinic to determine if multiple births might cause either you or the surrogate problems. While the surrogate mother will be the one carrying the child, your embryos also need to be checked to determine if they’re healthy.
This can be done before the embryo transfer by a process called PGS testing.
This is because a single transfer is best for those mothers who are 35 years old or younger. This process typically sees the best results in those women who are healthy and of a young age.
When deciding whether a single embryo transfer is right for you, you might want to take these steps.
First, you need to take the time for the decision. Infertility may make you feel as though you’re on a ticking clock but the decisions that you make with your fertility clinic and your surrogate agency in Roseville, CA, are vital.
So, sit down with your partner and your surrogate and discuss if a single transfer is a path you wish to choose.
When deciding, you should also consider the personal and practical limits that you face with childcare. Raising a child can be quite expensive.
Are you going to be able to financially support more than one child? What about when it comes time to attend school? Will your family be able to give multiple children all of the support that they need?
If you believe that your finances may be stretched to the point where you cannot provide excellent quality of life for multiple children, then a single transfer may be the best option for you.
Another factor to consider is your support system.
Obviously, your first go-to support will be from your partner. What are their wishes? Are they prepared to handle more than one child?
If so, can you also rely on extended relatives and friends to further help assist with the care of your child? Professionally, what sort of benefits does your work provide for employees with families? If the support that you need can cover multiple children, then maybe you should consider a multiple embryo transfer. On the other hand, if your system lacks support outside of your partner, then a single transfer may be the wisest choice.
Professional advice should also be garnered.
One of those should be the fertility clinic in which the procedure will occur. They will have all of the facts through personal experience alone that you can ask about. Your surrogate agency may also be able to offer some insight and advice. Finally, you should speak with the obstetrician that will be overseeing your pregnancy.
They understand the health of both yourself and the surrogate to the last detail. They’ll be able to give you a better understanding of both the benefits and consequences between single births and multiple births.
You may just find that they have a lot of experience with one over the other. That experience could make, for example, multiple births considerably easier.
Multiple Embryo Transfer
With quite a few risks associated with double embryo transfers, or DET, why would an intended mother consider having it performed?
There are two main reasons that intended parents might consider having twins or multiple babies:
- The first is that if they know that they want to have multiple children in their family, it makes more sense financially and timewise to have both embryos fertilized and implanted during a single transplant procedure. Also, depending on the surrogate agency in California that you have chosen, such as Made in the USA Surrogacy, you may receive a discount for multiple journeys done at the same time or save time and agency fees altogether by attempting a double embryo transfer.
- Women who are older or who have less than healthy embryos will have a greater chance of a successful transplant with two or more embryos transferred into the uterus.
Let’s examine the first reason in more detail. Infertility is an inconvenient condition. It requires more time and steps for a family to go through in order to have a baby instead of just being able to develop one on their own.
Since they already have to wait nine months for the baby to develop and be born (in some cases, surrogacy itself can be up to a two-year process) it’s understandable that they might want to speed up the process if they’re thinking about having more than one baby.
This process can also be made longer if they are unable to find a surrogate that best suits them within a good time frame.
There are more intended parents than there are surrogate mothers who are willing to have their child, so it’s important to keep a patient and open mindset. Our surrogate agency in Roseville, CA, can make that process a lot smoother.
Infertility is also quite costly. Between the $120,000+ for surrogacy, and close to $30,000 in IVF costs—it’s a cost that is worth it, of course, but families don’t want to bankrupt themselves just to have a baby.
Otherwise, they can’t offer their child the best financial environment to grow up in. To cut down on both time and cost, families may want to consider a DET.
DET involves the process of more than one embryo being fertilized during the in-vitro fertilization procedure.
Those fertilized embryos are then placed within the surrogate or intended mother to develop at the same time. In some cases, the number of fertilized embryos hopefully remain the same throughout the development.
As a result, the family will have two or three children as desired. They’ll have their entire family in a single pregnancy.
This allows them to avoid going through the process a second time.
Time and money are saved and they’re able to enjoy the large family that they’ve always wanted. Many intended parents consider this option for the idea of twins.
Now, let’s examine the second reason that a family may want to consider a double transfer procedure.
In the event that an intended mother’s embryos are unhealthy or not particularly fertile, then it may be a good idea to attempt to fertilize multiple embryos and have them transplanted. The thinking here is that if enough embryos are placed in the uterus, at least one or two of them may be successful in being accepted into the body.
Women who are older than 35 or just don’t have the healthiest of embryos may find better success with a multiple embryo transfer. As such, those who have gone through in-vitro fertilization without great success with single transfers may opt to choose multiple transfers in order to increase their chances of having a successful embryo transplant.
There are risks of double transfers, however.
Besides just those listed before, a double transfer may result in rapidly becoming a multiple births situation. This is because it is not uncommon for the double embryos to continue to divide or “split”.
What started as just a set of two children may suddenly become four or five children. A family who was prepared for twins may now find themselves becoming the parents of multiple children that they hadn’t planned for.
Understandably, this is a cause for concern. Financially, those parents may not be able to support additional children. They might be faced with some difficult decisions to make in regards to them.
Add this with the problems listed before about small size and poor health, and a double transfer may not seem the best choice.
Mixed Double Embryo Transfer
One study did find that a mixed double transfer was quite successful in couples who have struggled with in-vitro fertilization procedures. Instead of transplanting both embryos or a series of embryos at one time, the doctors instead chose to transplant the embryos at different intervals.
This was based on the fact that certain periods are better for transplant success than others. In particular, six to eight days after an ovulation cycle has finished is the best window for an embryo transplant.
Understandably, this isn’t the case for all couples experiencing infertility. As a result, more research needs to be performed on further expanding that window, so that all couples can benefit from an embryo transfer.
In this case, however, that window of six to eight days was utilized for the mixed double transfer.
Before the study, there were two main generally accepted methods for embryo transfers of women who struggled with in-vitro. The first was Blastocyst double-embryo transfer and the second was cleavage-stage double transfer.
While both have shown success in transplanting the embryo, the results could certainly be better.
As such, mixed double transfers were considered. In this procedure, MDET used day three and day five embryos for transfer. This was compared to BDET which uses day two five embryos. In the study, all embryos were frozen after being harvested and fertilized.
104 women were tested.
Of those 104, 48 were chosen for the MDET part of the experiment while 56 were assigned to the BDET part of the experiment. These women were chosen based on the high rate of in-vitro failures that they underwent.
They were also younger than 42 years old and had undergone an oocyte retrieval. Finally, these women had, at least, two healthy embryos in the day three and day five stage of development. This is important to know because it shows that the success of the experiment could prove as an excellent option for women who have been unable to have a successful transplant through the in-vitro procedure and are relatively older.
During the actual transplant procedure, MDET used day three and day five embryos and placed them in the uterus at the same time. The BDET part of the experiment used day two five embryos and also placed at the same time that the MDET did.
The results showed that MDET was far more successful in its implantation rate than the standard BDET procedure.
More specifically, the rate was 60.4% versus 39.3% from BDET. Perhaps even more promising was the miscarriage rate. MDET showed a rate of 6.9% while BDET had 10.7%.
However, where MDET had some problems was in its multiple births rates. It had a 27.1% rate against BDET’s 25.0%. While the number isn’t too significant, clearly, a broader study likely needs to be performed in order to determine if MDET may result in a higher chance of multiple births overall.
A mixed double transfer is just another method in a double transfer that infertile couples may want to consider. In the case where intended parents are having extreme difficulty with the in-vitro procedure, a mixed double transfer may be their last hope in order to start a family.
Which Is Right For You?
After you find a surrogate and start talking to your fertility clinic about the right steps that you want to take, you’ll ultimately have to decide whether you wish to have a single transfer performed or a double transfer performed.
To summarize, the single transfer is an excellent option for mothers who are relatively young, have healthy eggs, and are either using a surrogate or only want one child. Because the surrogate is typically given multiple medications to prepare her body for pregnancy, the transfer is usually successful.
However, in other cases, like if the intended mother is older, doesn’t have healthy embryos, or has experienced extreme difficulty in successful during in-invitro fertilization procedures, then a double transfer may be the best option.
As one study has shown, a mixed double transfer can improve the chances of becoming pregnant. However, it does come with the risk of multiple births. This is a situation that can be dangerous for both the children and the mother. There have been cases where women have died due to multiple births.
These health problems could be exacerbated in women who are already quite older. The older a pregnant mother is, the more likely it is that she and her baby will have complications both in the development stages of pregnancy and during the birth.
However, many studies do indicate that the rates of live births are slightly higher for women who undergo a double transfer as opposed to a single transfer. So, if you are someone who struggles greatly with infertility, then a double transfer may be the best option for you, regardless of the possible health problems.
Ultimately, as an intended mother, you should sit down with your partner and understand the possible consequences.
What steps will you take if the embryos divide and they are faced with a situation of multiple births? What if it occurs in your surrogate? Are you able to financially plan for a series of children instead of just two or three?
You should also need to consider the consequences of a single transfer procedure. What if it doesn’t work? Do you want to undergo other steps that might make the single transfer more effective? Would you consider a double transfer if the single transfer continues to fail?
In one study, a single embryo transfer only had multiple births occur in 2% of the individuals who were involved in the study.
This is quite a whopping difference compared to the 29% of those who did the double transfer. So, clearly, there is a reason to worry about having more children than your family is prepared to support and care for.
Make Your Decision Today
There are plenty of resources to aid you in making this decision.
After you hire Made in the USA Surrogacy as your preferred surrogate agency near you, and you find a surrogate through us- you should speak to your fertility clinic and your fertility doctor.
They can likely give you the best advice about which would be best for everyone involved based on everyone’s health and financial ability.
Finally, it doesn’t hurt to speak to other parents who have had to make a similar decision. While their experience may not be the same as yours, it’s worth considering. Once that decision has been made, you can go through the embryo transfer process and begin your incredible journey of starting a family at long last.
Made in the USA Surrogacy is committed to helping you with these complex decisions, and ultimately helping you make a decision based on the wants or needs of your surrogate mother.
If you have not had the chance to find a surrogate yet, it’s important to remember that each prospective surrogate has different feelings on what amount of embryos they are willing to transfer.
Speaking with your partner and informing yourself through a consult with our surrogacy agency is the best way to make sure you are prepared for the decision!
Make sure to call us at 916-226-4342 for more information, or start looking for a surrogate today by filling out our form!