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ASRM: New Guidelines for Embryo Transfer

A woman's age should guide number, developmental stage of embryos transferred

THURSDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- To reduce the risk of multiple gestations, a woman undergoing assisted reproduction should have specific numbers of embryos at certain developmental stages transferred depending on her age, according to new guidelines released at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in New Orleans. The guidelines will be published in a supplement to the November issue of Fertility and Sterility.

The tightened guidelines state that women under 35 years old should have only one embryo transferred if possible or a maximum of two embryos. No more than three cleavage-stage embryos (two to three days after fertilization) or two blastocyst-stage embryos (five to six days after fertilization) should be transferred to women 35 to 37 years old.

The new guidelines also state that women 38 to 40 years old should receive no more than four cleavage-stage or three blastocyst-stage embryos, while women over 40 years old should receive no more than five cleavage-stage or three blastocyst-stage embryos.

"The evidence clearly indicates that we can reduce the number of high-order multiple gestations and still maintain high pregnancy rates," said Marc Fritz, M.D., chair of the ASRM Practice Committee, in a statement. "That is and will remain the goal of these guidelines."

The guidelines were developed by the ASRM and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, which will audit clinics with consistently high percentages of high-order multiple gestations.

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