The risks and benefits of multiple embryo transfer
The IVF procedure involves the transfer of the fertilised embryo to the female partner’s uterus. In some cases where a surrogate mother is being used, then the fertilised embryo is transferred to the uterus of the surrogate mother.
The embryo is then given time to hatch and attach itself to the uterine wall lining. In every IVF procedure this is the suspense period where everyone hopes and prays for a successful implantation. It is a matter of patience and one should not jump to conclusions till the pregnancy test is done. At time pregnancy symptoms do begin to show beforehand, but some mother also imagine them in their excitement.
It may take anywhere between 6 to 12 days before one can begin to look for pregnancy signs. The pregnancy test is conducted after the specified duration which confirms the pregnancy. Many embryos arrest before the 5th day. They are not able to survive in the uterus. This could be due to the unreceptive conditions of the uterus or a weakness in the embryo itself.
Failure of the IVF procedure can be very devastating for the couple. The alternate option is to try again. However, it also means the additional cost of undergoing the whole procedure again.
To avoid having to undergo the IVF procedure again some couples choose to have multiple embryo transfer during the IVF procedure. Multiple embryo transfer is also preferred by couples who are on a tight budget and cannot afford to do the IVF procedure again in case of failure. They specifically ask the doctor for multiple embryo transfer.
Many couples feel that while one embryo has a greater chance of failure, with a multiple embryo transfer at least one embryo will successfully implant. This is not exactly accurate. If the uterine lining is not receptive it is most likely that none of the embryos will implant. However, if the uterus wall is receptive all the embryos may implant leading to multiple pregnancies.
Multiple pregnancies have a few benefits. You can have all your kids in one go without having to undergo numerous pregnancies. You can save money and do not have to pay for another IVF treatment to have another baby. All your medical bills for delivery are covered in one go. You only have to go through the discomfort of delivery once. Your children grow up together, all the sleepless nights and diaper changings days are over in one go. These are the small advantages that people like to focus on when they end up with twins or triplets with their IVF pregnancy.
The downside of multiple pregnancies is that it puts the mother’s as well as the lives of the babies at risk. Mothers pregnant with twins or more babies are usually confined to bed rest during the last trimester. The babies are usually born underweight and have a higher probability of birth defects and lower immunity.
Having multiple embryo transfer in the hope of better probability of getting pregnant is not advisable. Most doctors advise against multiple embryo transfer. If the patient insists then it is at their own risk. It is important for doctors to help them understand all the risks to themselves and their babies before the procedure.
Many doctors do not practice multiple embryo transfer as it poses unnecessary health risks to the patient. If anything goes wrong, and the patient is in a critical state, everyone looks to the doctor. At this moment it is difficult for any doctor to say that the patient knowingly put herself at risk. Some clinics do not offer the option of multiple embryo transfer unless the doctor feels the need according to their best judgement.
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