By the time an infertile is trying IVF- they're desperate for children and my judgement was definitely clouded by that- and all the money that we would have to pay for each lottery ticket to get pregnant. The rationale is that if you put two in, there are greater odds that at least one will "stick", as we infertiles like to say. And hey, who doesn't like a good Buy One Get One Free?? But studies show that there is very little difference in pregnancy rates when you transfer one or two. The difference is the rate of having multiples. With a 2 embryo transfer, your odds of having multiples increases by a ton! Multiples- like twins and triplets- lead to greater health risks for pregnant women and for the babies themselves. No infertile likes the Reproductive Endocrinologist's mantra- but the goal is "one healthy baby" (** and one healthy mama).
A solution to many infertiles' reluctance to transfer one embryo is insurance coverage for fertility treatments, including IVF. If we didn't have to finance the overwhelming cost of fertility treatments- we would be more accepting if it didn't work the first time. Fewer multiples births would actually decrease health insurance costs for everyone- and that is a product of insurance coverage of IVF. <<more on insurance coverages in future posts>>
I'm experiencing particular distress because of my own decision to transfer two embryos in the past. With our previous IVF cycle, we had 5 mature embryos, and all 5 fertilized (IVF/ICSI split for ya'll who are in the know). We had good looking embryos- all dividing well with very little fragmentation. We begged our physician to transfer 2 in both a fresh and a frozen cycle. Well- neither of those worked- and here we are with only one frosty left. As I mentioned before, the odds were- if it was going to stick- we would have been pregnant whether we put one or two in. I wish I wasn't so focused on how much money it would cost us to try IVF again, because if we had transferred only 1 each time, we would have three left to transfer (one by one) to our healthy Super Uterus surrogate. Not to mention, doing another IVF to bank embryos carries its own risks with injecting large amounts of hormones and undergoing egg-retrieval surgery.
Super Uterus actually got me thinking about number of embryos to transfer. She is actually a twin herself! She has a great perspective on the issue and will only allow single embryo transfer as a surrogate. Hop over to her recent Part-time Uterus post for her thoughts on embryo transfer.