Single Embryo Transfer (SET)

Last updated: November 10, 2023

What Does Single Embryo Transfer (SET) Mean?

A single embryo transfer (SET) is when only one embryo created using in vitro fertilization (IVF) is transferred to a woman’s uterus to facilitate conception. Some health care professionals recommend SET over double embryo transfer (DET) because it reduces the risk of multiples.

Single embryo transfer is also called elective single embryo transfer (eSET)

FertilitySmarts Explains Single Embryo Transfer (SET)

A multiple-embryo transfer has been a common practice in fertility clinics as a way to increase the success rate of assisted reproductive technology (ART). Individuals or couples often elect to have more than one embryo transferred at a time to reduce the cost of IVF and improve the chances of a successful pregnancy. However, this practice has led to an increase in the number of multiple gestations. In other words, sometimes more than one embryo successfully implants and the woman becomes pregnant with 2 or more fetuses.

Carrying multiples has an impact on the health of both the pregnant woman and the unborn fetus. A high-order multiple pregnancy (3 or more fetuses) further increases the risk of health complications. In recent years, improvements in technology, such as optimized embryo culture, have improved implantation rates. This has led many experts to reconsider the practice of transferring multiple embryos.

Single embryo transfer involves the transfer of one high-quality embryo. It will most likely be recommended to women under the age of 37 with good-quality embryos who have not had any unsuccessful treatments in the past. Studies suggest that the success rate of SET may be similar to that of DET.

Because single embryo transfer is the only truly effective way to reduce the rates of multiple pregnancies, many advocate its use to improve health outcomes. The disadvantages of SET include the reliance on subjective embryo grading to select the highest-quality embryo and the additional cost to the patient if the embryo does not implant and another cycle is required.


Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET)

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