Factors associated with the use of elective single embryo transfer and pregnancy outcomes in the United States 2004 2012

Aaron K. Styer, M.D., Barbara Luke, Sc.D., M.P.H., Wendy Vitek, M.D., Mindy S. Christianson, M.D., Valerie L. Baker, M.D., Alicia Y. Christy, M.D., M.H.S.C.R., Alex J. Polotsky, M.D., M.Sc.


To evaluate factors associated with elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) utilization and its effect on assisted reproductive technology outcomes in the United States.

Historical cohort.

Not applicable.

Fresh IVF cycles of women aged 18–37 years using autologous oocytes with either one (SET) or two (double-embryo transfer [DET]) embryos transferred and reported to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcome Reporting System between 2004 and 2012. Cycles were categorized into four groups with ([+]) or without ([−]) supernumerary embryos cryopreserved. The SET group with embryos cryopreserved was designated as eSET.


Main Outcomes Measure(s):
The likelihood of eSET utilization, live birth, and singleton non–low birth weight term live birth, modeled using logistic regression. Presented as adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

The study included 263,375 cycles (21,917 SET[−]cryopreservation, 20,996 SET[+]cryopreservation, 103,371 DET[−]cryopreservation, and 117,091 DET[+]cryopreservation). The utilization of eSET (SET[+]cryopreservation) increased from 1.8% in 2004 to 14.9% in 2012 (aOR 7.66, 95% CI 6.87–8.53) and was more likely with assisted reproductive technology insurance coverage (aOR 1.60, 95% CI 1.54–1.66), Asian race (aOR 1.26, 95% CI 1.20–1.33), uterine factor diagnosis (aOR 1.48, 95% CI 1.37–1.59), retrieval of ≥16 oocytes (aOR 2.85, 95% CI 2.55–3.19), and the transfer of day 5–6 embryos (aOR 4.23, 95% CI 4.06–4.40); eSET was less likely in women aged 35–37 years (aOR 0.76, 95% CI 0.73–0.80). Compared with DET cycles, the likelihood of the ideal outcome, term non–low birth weight singleton live birth, was increased 45%–52% with eSET.

Expanding insurance coverage for IVF would facilitate the broader use of eSET and may reduce the morbidity and healthcare costs associated with multiple pregnancies.

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