In the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers posited that weaker embryos that would otherwise die “receive support” from their stronger counterpart. Doctors concluded that the overall rate of survival birth per embyro was 83% when the mother was carrying twins, but only 76% with only one embryo.
Although there is noted evidence that twin pregnancies result in higher live birth rates according to Reuters, the concept that embryos are helping on another implant in the womb, or “embryo assistance” has yet to be completely proven. This notion has already been met with skepticism by other doctors, namely Dr. Alan B Copperman, director of reproductive endocrinology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He calls the research “an interesting hypothesis,” but so far incomplete:
“But their data are not sufficient to overturn our current understanding that embryo implantation is independent, and we do not have evidence that individual embryos ‘help each other’ implant.”
Reuters also points to an additional study from a fertility center in Iowa that saw no decline in successful pregnancies after instating a single-embryo policy. However, Fernando Miro maintains that there is more of a disparity in succesful births with twins in women over the age of 33.
Although “embryo assistance” clearly needs more study, the possibility of such occurance could greatly impact the path to family for couples struggling wtih infertility.