Elective single embryo transfer with cryopreservation improves the outcome and diminishes the costs of IVF/ICSI

Zdravka Veleva, Petri Karinen, Candido Tomás, Juha S Tapanainen, Hannu Martikainen
Human Reproduction 2009, 24 (7): 1632-9

BACKGROUND: Although elective single embryo transfer (eSET) minimizes the multiple birth rate after in vitro fertilization (IVF)/intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), there remain concerns in many countries that it is less effective and more expensive than conventional double embryo transfer (DET).

METHODS: We compared the clinical outcome achieved in the years 1995-1999, in which eSET was rarely used (4.2% of women, DET period) with that of the years 2000-2004, in which eSET was more widely used (46.2%, eSET period). In the DET period, 826 women had 1359 fresh embryo cycles followed by 589 frozen-thawed embryo transfer (FET) cycles. In the eSET period, 684 women had 1027 fresh and 683 FET cycles. The cumulative term live birth rate/woman was the primary clinical outcome measure. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of a term live birth was also calculated based on hospital charges and medication prices of IVF/ICSI treatment.

RESULTS: The cumulative pregnancy rate/oocytes pickup (38.2 versus 33.1%, P = 0.01), cumulative live birth rate/oocytes pickup (28.0 versus 22.5%, P = 0.002) and cumulative live birth rate/woman (41.7 versus 36.6%, P = 0.04) were all higher in the eSET period than in the DET period. The cumulative multiple birth rate was significantly lower in the eSET period than in the DET period (8.9 versus 19.6%, P < 0.0001). A term live birth in the eSET period was 19 889 euros less expensive than in the DET period.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that eSET with cryopreservation is more effective and less expensive than DET and should be adopted as a treatment of choice.

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