Making in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) safer: a strategy of elective single embryo transfer to minimise the risk of perinatal complications associated with multiple pregnancy


Description of impact

Multiple births following in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment leads to serious health risks in the mother and offspring. It is caused by replacing multiple embryos within the uterus. Concerns about reduced success rates have deterred patients and practitioners from transplanting a single embryo. A programme of research led from the University of Aberdeen established that a policy of replacing one embryo at a time minimises the risk of twins without compromising livebirth rates. This work has received international media coverage, influenced clinical guidance and resulted in an increased uptake of single embryo transfer in the United Kingdom and beyond.

The claimed impact, as defined by REF guidance, is therefore on public policy and services; practitioners and professional services and health and welfare.
Impact statusImpact Completed (Open)


  • Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care