Monash medical student’s research may change IVF practice



Monash medical student Ms Shimona Lai has been accepted to present her research into the safety of double embryo transfers at the prestigious European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Switzerland.

Currently a Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) student at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), Shimona’s research project aims to compare clinical outcomes following single and double embryo transfer, with a focus on embryo quality.

“Historically, double embryo transfers have been used to maximise rates of implantation and pregnancy in IVF, however, its use has subsequently led to an unacceptably high risk of multiple pregnancy and its associated complications,” Shimona said.

“Although current recommendations are that only a single embryo be transferred per cycle, there are still many patients and clinicians who prefer double embryo transfer due to its assumed benefits.”

Shimona’s study is examining the quality of embryos used in single and double embryo transfer to see how this affects outcomes—with a particular interest in how embryonic interactions between differing quality embryos in double-embryo transfers impact success.

Shimona said her project’s results challenge the precedent that transferring multiple embryos compensates for low implantation and pregnancy rates, and instead suggest they may cause worse outcomes and even harm.

“The attitudes towards single and double embryo transfer are slowly changing, but our work has the potential to spur this on a little quicker - which is very exciting from a clinical perspective.”

ESHRE will be Shimona’s first scientific conference experience.

“I feel so honoured that my very first poster presentation will be at the ESHRE annual meeting, the leading society in the field of reproduction and reproductive health, which will be attended by more than 10,000 delegates,” Shimona said.

Shimona will present her poster at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Geneva, Switzerland, which will be held from the 2nd to 5th July 2017.

Shimona acknowledges the ongoing support and encouragement of her supervisors Dr Tiki Osianlis, Professor Beverley Vollenhoven and Associate Professor Martin Healy.