Attitudes of infertile couples to a multiple birth: A review of the literature and results from a survey

C. Glazebrook, C. Sheard, L. Winstanley, Sara Jane Cox, G. Ndukwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although multiple births are associated with poorer clinical and psychological outcomes, there is a perception that couples choose multiple embryo transfer because they would prefer a multiple IVF birth. Objective: To review literature concerning the attitudes of infertile couples to a multiple birth and to explore factors influencing couples' decisions about embryo transfer. Methods: Thirteen research articles were identified in the medical literature that examined women's choices concerning multiple IVF pregnancies. A cross-sectional survey was conducted at one centre for the treatment of infertility in the East Midlands, UK. Sixty-eight couples undergoing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) with at least two embryos available for transfer were recruited to the study. Outcome measures were couples' ratings of factors influencing the number of embryos transferred. Results: Eight of the 13 studies found couples favouring a multiple birth to be in the majority. Most studies, however, had required hypothetical or retrospective judgments. In the present survey no patient had chosen single embryo transfer (SET), 56 (76%) had had 2 embryos transferred and 16 (24%) had 3 embryos transferred. Patients strongly perceived that SET would reduce the chances of having a child. Only 13 women (19.1%) considered that a desire for twins had influenced their decision. Of more importance was the desire to increase the chance of pregnancy (92.7%), the medical advice received (91%) and a desire to avoid further treatment (57.3%). The majority of couples found the decision regarding embryo transfer easy but a third would have liked more information. Participants with children were less likely to report a desire for twins (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Women's Health Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

cited By 4


  • attitude to pregnancy
  • consultation
  • demography
  • embryo transfer
  • female
  • fertilization in vitro
  • health survey
  • human
  • infertility therapy
  • medical decision making
  • medical literature
  • multiple pregnancy
  • outcomes research
  • physician
  • prevalence
  • priority journal
  • questionnaire
  • retrospective study
  • review
  • twins
  • United Kingdom


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