Gestational carrier pregnancy outcomes from frozen embryo transfer depending on the number of embryos transferred and preimplantation genetic testing: a retrospective analysis

In frozen embryo transfers to gestational carriers, single embryo transfer improves pregnancy outcomes compared to 2 embryo transfer. Preimplantation genetic testing did not appear to improve live birth rates.

VOLUME 115, ISSUE 6, P1471-1477


Amalia Namath, M.D., Samad Jahandideh, Ph.D., Kate Devine, M.D., Jeanne E. O’Brien, M.D., Robert J. Stillman, M.D.



To compare gestational age, birth weight (BW), and live birth rates in gestational carriers (GC) after the transfer of 1 or 2 frozen embryo(s) with or without preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A), with the understanding that several social and economic factors may motivate intended parents to request the transfer of 2 embryos and/or PGT-A when using a GC.


Retrospective cohort study


An assisted reproductive technology practice.


All frozen blastocyst transfers with GCs from 2009–2018.


One or 2 embryo frozen embryo transfers with and without PGT-A.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Live birth, preterm birth, and low BW.


A total of 583 frozen embryo transfer cycles with vitrified high-grade blastocysts (grade BB or higher) to GCs were analyzed. Although the live birth rate was significantly greater in frozen embryo transfers with 2 embryos, after single embryo transfer (SET), the mean gestational age and BW of live births were statistically significantly greater than those of double embryo transfer (DET). The rate of multiple births was 1.9% for SET compared to 20.0% for DET per transfer. Only 3.8% of live births from SET experienced low BW and 0.6% had very low or extremely low BW. By comparison, 12.5% of DET live births were low BW and 5% were very low BW. After SET, 13.4% of live births were preterm, compared with 40% in DET. The analysis also included a total of 194 transfers with PGT-A compared to 389 cycles without. Overall, live births per transfer were not significantly different between these latter 2 subgroups.


Frozen embryo transfer cycles in GCs with DET were associated with more preterm births and lower birth weights compared with those of SET. Intended parents and GCs should be counseled that DET is associated with greater risks of adverse pregnancy and perinatal outcomes, which mitigates higher live birth rates. The use of PGT-A did not appear to improve the live birth rate.

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Go to the profile of M. Blake Evans
over 1 year ago

A very well done and important paper by the authors. I’m interested to know if there were indications for DET such as intended parent age or multiple prior transfer failures?