November 30, 2022

Single-embryo transfers? Fugedaboudit, says NY IVF doctor

Single-embryo transfer should be the gold standard in IVF, argue many European fertility specialists. The risk of multiple pregnancies is too high, with dangers for the babies and for the mother. But the outspoken Norbert Gleicher, Medical Director of the Center for Human Reproduction (CHR) in New York City, argues that this is daft. Doctors should heed market demand and respect customer choice.

Single-embryo transfer should be the gold standard in IVF, argue many European fertility specialists. The risk of multiple pregnancies is too high, with dangers for the babies and for the mother. At the worst, the consequence is the scandal of an OctoMom – the California woman who gave birth to eight children in a single pregnancy.

But the outspoken Norbert Gleicher, Medical Director of the Center for Human Reproduction (CHR) in New York City, argues that this is daft. Doctors should heed market demand and respect customer choice.

European IVF pregnancy rates have levelled off, he says. The most recent European data show delivery rates of 26.6%. During the same time period, the US delivery rate was 40.7%. 

“A part of the reason is the recent propagation of single-embryo transfer (sET) in Europe,” explains Dr. Gleicher. “In Europe, fertility experts and governments alike consider the reduced risk of multiple pregnancies through sET a good enough reason to offset lower pregnancy chances caused by sET. Thus, many European countries mandate sET despite irrefutable evidence that patients value nothing more than better chances of pregnancy in choosing their infertility treatments.

“This is a good example for the fundamental difference in the socio-medical philosophy between Europe and the US,” points out Dr Gleicher: “Europe values what they perceive as the ‘common good’ over individual rights of patients. What they fail to recognize, however, are the unintended consequences affecting the patient-physician relationship and, most importantly, IVF outcomes.”

“If there is a lesson to be learned here,” says Dr Gleicher, “it is that IVF pregnancy rates in the US will continue to improve, as long as IVF research and clinical care remain largely unaffected by government interference, and primarily driven by success in the marketplace, as they have over the last few decades.” ~ PRWEB, Feb 6

Michael Cook
IVF
single-embryo transfer