Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Limiting IVF Embryo Transfers
There are currently no regulations in the United States that limit a fertility clinic from implanting numerous embryos into a woman's womb. The United Kingdom, France, Australia and Germany have legislation with limits to the maximum number of embryos to be transferred. In the USA we believe the decision about how many embryos to implant should be left to the clinical judgment of doctors. Because of the expense and emotions involved with infertility treatment, couples want to maximize their chances of getting a viable pregnancy...even if it means they will have twins or triplets.
For some patients, the chances are slim that they will get pregnant, despite the best technology. There is a wide range between women and age is not the only factor. One 40 year old is not the same as another 40 year old and the embryo quality can vary widely. Now that technology allows doctors to grow the embryo in the lab for 5 days, instead of the usual three days, higher quality embryos can be selected.
It is hard to believe that 100 years ago most doctors didn't even really understand "woman's issues". Most women had no knowledge of their bodies and birth was a random event...difficult to prevent and difficult to influence. The changes have been rapid and amazing and we are learning how to be successful without causing harm from our technology.
(Dr. Michael Kamrava, Octomom's doctor, implanted 12 embryos!)
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 10:38 PM