Single versus double embryo transfer: cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomized clinical trial

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Twin pregnancies after IVF are still frequent and are considered high-risk pregnancies leading to high costs. Transferring one embryo can reduce the twin pregnancy rate. We compared cost-effectiveness of one fresh cycle elective single embryo transfer (eSET) versus one fresh cycle double embryo transfer (DET) in an unselected patient population.


Patients starting their first IVF cycle were randomized between eSET and DET. Societal costs per couple were determined empirically, from hormonal stimulation up to 42 weeks after embryo transfer. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated, representing additional costs per successful pregnancy.


Successful pregnancy rates were 20.8% for eSET and 39.6% for DET. Societal costs per couple were significantly lower after eSET (€ 7334) compared with DET (€10 924). The ICER of DET compared with eSET was €19 096, meaning that each additional successful pregnancy in the DET group will cost €19 096 extra.


One cycle eSET was less expensive, but also less effective compared to one cycle DET. It depends on the society’s willingness to pay for one extra successful pregnancy, whether one cycle DET is preferred from a cost-effectiveness point of view.

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