Babies born to mothers who had single embryo transfer (SET) during IVF are more robust and likely to survive birth, University of New South Wales research shows.
The study from the Perinatal and Reproductive Epidemiology Research Unit at UNSW found fewer SET babies are stillborn or die in the first weeks of life.
Study leader professor Elizabeth Sullivan said the research shows that adopting a policy of single embryo transfer is justified as doctors aim to minimise preventable perinatal deaths.
Australia and New Zealand have a voluntary policy of single embryo transfer, with the proportion of SET in both countries rising to 67.8 per cent in 2008 from 14.2 per cent in 1999. It has also resulted in a decline in multiple deliveries to 8.4 per cent in 2008 from 22.1 per cent in 2000.
Professor Sullivan is presenting the findings of her study to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting in Istanbul this week.
Australia leads the world in voluntary SET, said Professor Michael Chapman, Head of the UNSW School of Women's and Children's Health.
''Professor Sullivan's work shows that babies born following single embryo have lower rates of stillbirth and neonatal death, which supports other research that babies born after single embryo transfer are bigger, less premature and have lower abnormality rates,'' Professor Chapman said.