Empowerment Strategy May Be Beneficial for IVF Decision

Intervention encourages single-embryo transfer, could result in lower twin pregnancy rate
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A strategy to empower couples seeking in vitro fertilization (IVF) to decide how many embryos to transfer could increase the number who use single-embryo transfer, therefore reducing the twin pregnancy rate, according to research published Sept. 30 in BMJ.

Arno van Peperstraten, M.D., of Radboud University in Nijmegen, and colleagues analyzed data from 308 couples who were waiting for a first IVF cycle or the first after a previous successful IVF. They were randomized to standard IVF care or an intervention including a decision aid, an offer for reimbursement of an additional cycle, and support from a nurse who specialized in IVF.

The researchers found that, after the first treatment cycle, 43 percent in the intervention group chose single-embryo transfer compared to 32 percent in the control group, for an 11-percent difference, though the confidence interval for the difference ranged from 0 to 22 percent (P = 0.05). Those in the intervention group had higher empowerment and knowledge levels, but similar anxiety levels compared to those in the control group. Couples in the intervention group had mean total savings of $219.12. The authors concluded that the intervention could be an important tool for decreasing the rate of twin pregnancy after IVF.

"We infer from this study that patients are willing and able to make complex decisions if they are empowered, as long as they are provided with the correct information, in an appropriate way, and in a setting with patient autonomy. Implementation of this multifaceted empowerment strategy could also help professionals working in the specialty of IVF as the strategy contributes to a more efficient decision making process and a reduction in costs," the authors write.

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