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Joint support for reduction in multiple births

News 13 November 2013

The UK multiple births policy was developed by a stakeholder group comprising representatives of professional bodies and the HFEA. In 2008 a mission statement was published, and the ACE and BFS published joint guidelines to help clinics meet multiple birth targets. In January 2009 the policy came into force and in 2011, the HFEA introduced a range of initiatives with requirements to support clinics in the reduction of the overall multiple birth rates which includes guidance in the Code of Practice. The standard licence condition was introduced later to reinforce the policy.

Since 2009, the HFEA and the Multiple Birth Stakeholder Group have continued to set the multiple-birth targets jointly. Since that time we have seen significant progress in the reduction of multiple births and the current target is 10%. In 2013 the principle of minimizing multiple births was given backing by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, in their revised guidelines for management of infertile couples. There is broad international consensus among IVF practitioners that multiple births need to be reduced.

The ACE, BFS, MBF and RCOG believes that advances in IVF over the last decade have shown that elective single embryo transfer (eSET) can be achieved without adversely impacting on pregnancy rates. They consider that eSET is now part of routine practice in the majority of clinics and that responsible professionals will continue do all they can to minimize multiple births through good clinical practice.

Notes

The Association of Clinical Embryologists (ACE) is the UK’s only professional body representing embryologists and now has in excess of 800 members. For more information, please click here.

The British Fertility Society is a national multidisciplinary organisation representing professionals practising in the field of reproductive medicine. For general information, please click here.

The Multiple Births Foundation works with professionals to raise awareness of the complexities and special needs of multiple birth families and how to meet them by providing parents with information, advice and support. For more information, please click here.

More information about the One at a Time campaign is available here.

Elective single embryo transfer is increasingly being used around the world as a strategy to reduce multiple births, for further information about worldwide practice click here.