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What is Embryo Reduction Technique?

  • 4.6 (5 Votes)

Embryo reduction is a gynecological procedure to reduce the number of embryos produced during an ART treatment like IVF or ICSI. Some women want only single child at a time. For such cases embryo reduction procedure does the requisite lowering of the number of fetuses before they develop further.

Every case of pregnancy is unique. Before anything else, it’s important to know that there are several aspects, which are associated with a successful pregnancy. Right from the start of a treatment for conceiving a baby to the birth of the child, a woman undergoes several phases and changes inside the body especially in the uterus. There are women who have multiple pregnancies at one time either with the natural conception or with the assistance of procedures like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). In such cases Reduction Technique further improves the chances of a healthy birth of for the remaining Embryos during the process. In this article, you will learn about the embryo reduction procedure, why it’s required and all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

What is embryo reduction?

Embryo reduction is a procedure in which the doctor reduces the number of the fetuses in the uterus of the woman with the help of medical technology. It is also known as multifocal reduction, selective pregnancy reduction or fetal reduction. It is one of the most advanced procedures in the field of gynecology in the recent times. It is utilized in the best possible manner according to the requirements of the woman and the opinion of the doctor.

Why does the doctor advise embryo reduction?

advice embryo reduction

The doctor advises embryo reduction in certain cases as follows:

  • The mother wants to bear only one child at one time. This can be her personal decision. Therefore, in these cases, the doctor advises embryo reduction.
  • The increased number of fetuses increases risk during the childbirth. If the number of fetuses present in the mother’s uterus is more than one, then there are high chances of the miscarriages as well as defective births when the babies are born. So, if the doctors find that there are more than one or two embryos in the woman’s uterus, they recommend embryo reduction procedure.
  • In case of infertility in one or both the partners, assisted reproductive procedures are utilized for the successful occurrence of pregnancy. The assisted reproductive procedures like in vitro fertilization lead to the increased chances of multiple pregnancies. Therefore, it is quite common that you take help of embryo reduction for reducing the number of fetuses. This will automatically increase the chances of successful pregnancies and birth of healthy babies.
  • Maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity levels are increased to a higher extent because of multifetal pregnancy.
  • Multiple pregnancies can also result in stillbirth and preterm delivery resulting in slow language development, learning disabilities, delay in development, chronic lung disease and in severe cases death can also occur.
  • The mother is also affected due to the multi - fetal pregnancies. Some of the commonly seen effects are gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage as well as hypertension.

What is the procedure of embryo reduction?

The procedure of embryo reduction has certain steps, which need to be followed for the successful completion.

  • First of all, the procedure is usually recommended and performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy i.e. first trimester period.
  • The procedure takes place when the fetuses are still there in the mother’s womb. An ultrasound probe is utilized to ensure that the fetus is seen clearly.
  • Then, the doctor uses the ultrasound results as the guide and inserts the drug to cease the heartbeat of the fetus.
  • Nowadays, a procedure known as “radio-frequency ablation” is used to stop the life of the fetus in the mother’s womb. Here, a small needle device is inserted in the mother’s womb under the guidance of the ultrasound. The needle device is switched on and then the blood vessels connecting the umbilical cord to fetus are cut with the help of electric currents. This ensures termination of the targeted fetus. Proper identification of the fetus is done prior to the usage of the radiofrequency ablation. Depending on the case, the surgeon can decide the usage of a particular type of the procedure.
  • This is a painless procedure; still, general anesthesia is given to the patients to ensure comfort and peaceful completion of the process.
  • After the procedure is completed, the condition of the remaining fetuses is checked to ensure that their health and growth is not affected.
  • The patient is asked to wait in the hospital for next few days for proper rest and recovery.

How much time does it take for the successful completion of embryo reduction procedure?

Post embryo transfer

The procedure is completed in an hour’s time. It is an experience oriented medical procedure and needs to be performed in between 9 weeks and 12 weeks of the gestation period.

Are there any risks associated with the embryo reduction procedure?

Embryo reduction procedure or multifetal reduction procedure has certain risks and complications associated with it. Here is a list of risks and complications, which are associated with the embryo reduction procedure.

  • More than three - fourths of the women who undergo embryo reduction technique have preterm labor.
  • There is also the possibility of miscarriage after the embryo reduction. Therefore, the doctor keeps the pregnant women under strict supervision to look out for mishappening.

After care measures for the embryo reduction procedure

  • After the completion of the embryo reduction procedure it is important for the mother to take proper care of herself and her remaining babies.
  • Your doctor will advise you customized diet, which consists of nutrients and high proteins. By this, the mother’s body receives required nourishment during the pregnancy duration and the remaining baby grows healthily.
  • You will also be recommended tests to determine you and your baby are performing well after the procedure.

It is essential that you open up with your gynecologist and discuss all your doubts and queries before starting the procedure. This helps you to stay clear regarding the procedure as well as ensure that you do not have any kind of negative surprises after the completion of the procedure. This also helps you and your partner to stop stressing about the consequences of the procedure. Therefore, you must know the details of the procedure of the embryo reduction before opting for it to get the embryos reduced.

If you are looking for a specialist who can perform embryo reduction process with higher success rate, then call at +917899912611. If you are looking to opt for various fertility treatments in India, then visit our fertility treatment blog section and get to know more about different types of fertility treatments.

Dr. Srilatha Gorthi

About The Author

Laparoscopic Surgeon, Gynecologic Surgeon Dr. Srilatha Gorthi

Dr. Srilatha Gorthi is an infertility specialist and laparoscopy surgeon located in Hyderabad. Her area of expertise lies in the field of Gynae diseases and conditions, and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). She provides a number of services that comprise of In vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), ICSI, TESA, MESA, Gynae Hysteroscopy, Laparoscopy, treatment of Ovarian Cysts, Endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroids, Polyps and so on. Dr. Srilatha Gorthi practices at The Birthplace Hospital, Revive Multi Specialty Clinics and Fertility Centre, and The Birthplace Clinic and has a rich experience of more than 18 years. Dr. Gorthi has won 9 Gold Medals in MBBS.She is a reputed member of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), European society of Gynaecological Endoscopy and British Medical Association, UK, and British Fertility Society. You can get her information at


  1. What are the functions of uterus? uterus, Elawoman - 2017
  2. Infertility solution with in vitro fertilization In Vitro Fertilization, Elawoman - 2017
  3. What is fetal heart rate monitoring (fhr)? heartbeat of the fetus, Elawoman - 2018
  4. Know all about gynecology and gynecologists gynecologist, Elawoman - 2017




Please suggest some best clinics for embryo reduction technique in Delhi.

Oct. 12, 2018, 8:56 a.m. 4.5


Gauri Giri

My embryo reduction surgery was successful and I opted it as I was pregnant with twins. The chances of miscarriage are above but I was lucky.

Sept. 11, 2018, 6:52 p.m. 5.0


Natasha Lohiya

It was new to learn about embryo reduction and its possibilities. Thanks for sharing!

July 31, 2018, 2:49 p.m. 4.5


Kausal Verma

Women with a weak uterus, who are unable to carry more than one child, go through embryo reduction technique. It has the risk of miscarriage so it's implemented when it is necessary.

June 30, 2018, 5:43 p.m. 4.5


Sulini Upalekar

This blog has cleared all my doubts with embryo reduction and transfer related information. I just loved the diagrammatic information as it made me understand the basic concepts with clarity.

June 26, 2018, 4:56 p.m. 4.5

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