A new infertility treatment that uses slightly older embryos could improve pregnancy rates and reduce the number of multiple births, researchers have said.
The news is likely to be welcomed by health experts as many have expressed concern about the risks posed by multiple births, which account for around 40 per cent of IVF babies.
Many twins are born prematurely, increasing the chance of birth defects and reducing the likelihood of survival.
The new technique allows the embryo to mature for a couple of days longer than usual in the laboratory, giving experts a better chance of identifying the most viable embryo and meaning that the chances of successful implantation are improved.
This therefore means that women need only have one embryo implanted, according to researchers writing in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Dr Yakoub Khalaf, who led the research at Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London, said that the overall success rate was also higher.
He revealed: "It is a myth that single embryo transfer lowers the success rate of pregnancy."