Abnormal human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) trends after transfer of multiple embryos resulting in viable singleton pregnancies

Paula C. Brady, Leslie V. Farland, Stacey A. Missmer, Catherine Racowsky, Janis H. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate whether abnormal hCG trends occur at a higher incidence among women conceiving singleton pregnancies following transfer of multiple (two or more) embryos (MET), as compared to those having a single embryo transfer (SET). Methods: Retrospective cohort study was performed of women who conceived singleton pregnancies following fresh or frozen autologous IVF/ICSI cycles with day 3 or day 5 embryo transfers between 2007 and 2014 at a single academic medical center. Cycles resulting in one gestational sac on ultrasound followed by singleton live birth beyond 24 weeks of gestation were included. Logistic regression models adjusted a priori for patient age at oocyte retrieval and day of embryo transfer were used to estimate the Odds Ratio of having an abnormal hCG rise (defined as a rise or < 66% in 2 days) following SET as compared to MET. Results: Among patients receiving two or more embryos, 6.1% (n = 84) had abnormal hCG rises between the first and second measurements, compared to 2.7% (n = 17) of patients undergoing SET (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.26–3.71). Among patients with initially abnormal hCG rises who had a third level checked (89%), three-quarters had normal hCG rises between the second and third measurements. Conclusions: Patients who deliver singletons following MET were more likely to have suboptimal initial hCG rises, potentially due to transient implantation of other non-viable embryo(s). While useful for counseling, these findings should not change standard management of abnormal hCG rises following IVF. The third hCG measurements may clarify pregnancy prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-489
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Chemical pregnancy
  • Embryo transfer
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin
  • In vitro fertilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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