Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Patient attitudes towards twin pregnancies and SET

SET = single embryo transfer.

This article (actually a letter to the editor of Human Reproduction - March 11, 2008) by M. Garel about the attitude of patients undergoing IVF toward twins is a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in the topic and likes reading articles in academic journals.

To me, the bottom line seems to be that asking patients about their attitude in a questionnaire doesn't give real information - does saying one doesn't want twins seem ungrateful? Is the reason for wanting twins the fear that one will only be able to achieve one successful pregnancy?


I'm still looking for a topic for my seminar paper in Survey Methodology. Ideally, it would have to do with surveys used with patients undergoing infertility treatments... but I need a specific angle that other people have researched (since I don't want to have to do statistical evaluations on my own questionnaire). Any ideas are welcome...


Leah Goodman said...

it's more complicated than that - some people who choose to have only one transferred make that decision because they're worried about the risks if they do get pregnant with twins, or if one of the embryos splits and they end up with triplets (rare, I know, but everyone talks about the theoretical possibility)

Rachel Inbar said...

Well, in this article, they're actually talking about people who are more likely to say that they want twins than really want them, rather than people who choose to transfer a single embryo (which, still, when given the choice, relatively few couples seem to).

Bea said...

Yes, it seems that the questionaire was flawed so as not to reveal the true nature of the couples' preferences. But you'd know more about that than I would!

This seems like fertile (ahem) ground for your paper, though, perhaps? How would you put that questionaire (or design a survey) such that it yielded accurate results?

I certainly agree with the sentiment that more couples would show a clearer preference for singletons if a) treatment was more successful than now and/or b) treatments weren't limited by healthcare system/personal finance (and also patient factors such as age or ability to cope with treatments). Maybe the same types of surveys could be shown to have different results in clinics with significantly different success rates/where couples are not limited? (That's probably the type of statistical analysis you're trying to avoid. But it's an interesting question, no?)