Belgian Legislation and the Effect of Elective Single Embryo Transfer on IVF Outcome

Reprod Biomed Online. 2005 Apr;10(4):436-41. doi: 10.1016/s1472-6483(10)60818-8.


In order to reduce the number of multiple pregnancies following IVF, the Belgian government agreed to reimburse laboratory expenses for six IVF cycles up to the age of 42 years, in exchange for restriction of the number of embryos replaced. Data on assisted reproduction outcome before and after the introduction of this new legislation were analysed retrospectively in terms of implantation, pregnancy and multiple pregnancy rates. After the introduction of the new law, the percentage of single embryo transfer increased from 14 to 49%. Implantation rates were 25.9 and 23% respectively. There was no difference in the overall pregnancy rate before and after the introduction (36 versus 37%). Twin pregnancies, however, decreased from 19 to 3%. These findings indicate that elective single embryo transfer significantly decreases the twin pregnancy rate without a reduction in the overall pregnancy rate.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Embryo Implantation
  • Embryo Transfer*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Pregnancy, Multiple / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Twins