Genea welcomes the news that IVF patients in Australia and New Zealand have the lowest chance in the world of having a multiple pregnancy.
In Australia and New Zealand, less than 10 per cent of IVF pregnancies involve women having a multiple birth - a situation which can carry significant health risks for mother and baby.
The rate of multiple births from IVF in Australia and New Zealand is the lowest in the world, according to statistics presented at the latest meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Istanbul today.
Genea Medial Director Associate Professor Mark Bowman, who is attending the conference, said the trend was a result of Australia leading the world in single embryo transfer (SET).
Almost 70 per cent of IVF cycles in Australia and New Zealand involve the transfer of a single embryo – compared to approximately 20 per cent in Europe. With single embryo transfer, only one embryo is put into the uterus, rather than transferring more than one and risking a multiple pregnancy.
The trend toward single embryo transfer (SET) in Australia was established by Genea more than a decade ago and today only five per cent of patients who have a baby at Genea have a multiple birth.
Genea CEO Dr Kylie deBoer said as the first clinic in Australia to introduce routine single embryo transfer, Genea welcomed focus on reducing the percentage of multiple births.
“While many clinics – around the world and in Australia - transfer more than one embryo to try to improve their chances of success, our technology allows us to achieve higher success rates while transferring a single, carefully selected embryo," Dr deBoer said.
“This results in 95 per cent of our patients who have a baby, having a live singleton birth. With our commitment to research and development, we aim to increase this even further in the near future.”
Genea first introduced elective single embryo transfer in 1996 and now approximately 80 per cent of all embryo transfers undertaken at Genea involve the return of a single embryo, regardless of patient age.
Advances in the techniques for freezing and thawing embryos mean Genea patients are more likely than ever to achieve a family from one cycle of IVF using single embryo transfers.
Almost 50 per cent of frozen embryo transfers in Genea patients aged less than 38 will result in a pregnancy. That compares to a success rate of less than 25 per cent just five years ago, utilizing different technology.
It means patients who are not successful with their first embryo transfer and those who have had an IVF baby and are trying again, are still likely to achieve a healthy baby when they return for a subsequent frozen embryo transfer.
The success from frozen embryos supports the Genea approach of single embryo transfer – minimising the risks associated with multiple births. In turn, this is leading to a reduction in the number of cycles, which involve hormone stimulation, for many patients.
The results have led Genea to introduce a trial whereby some patients will have all embryos frozen following a stimulation cycle. This will better assess the impact of replacing the best embryo one month later, in the woman’s natural cycle.
Genea believes that this trial (the Elective Vitrification of All embryos or EVA trial) may show that replacing the best embryo, first up, into a natural cycle, will lead to higher even pregnancy rates than replacing the best embryo fresh.
“We are very focussed on minimising the number of times a woman needs to have ovarian stimulation - to develop eggs and then embryos," Assoc Prof Mark Bowman said.
“The majority of subsequent frozen embryo transfers can be undertaken in the patient’s natural ovulation cycle. An equivalent high success rate from frozen transfers, as for fresh transfers, means less medical intervention for our patients.”
About Assoc Prof Mark Bowman
More on our success rates and One Cycle, One Family