Natural Cycle IVF or Minimal Stimulation IVF (often called No or Low Medication IVF) has recently been getting a great deal of attention in media and on the internet. Because these treatments are currently in the spotlight, more patients are asking their doctors whether this is a viable option for treatment of their fertility issues.
In Minimal Stimulation IVF, a combination of oral and low dose injectable medications are used; alternatively, in Natural Cycle IVF ovulation stimulating medications are not used at all. These options may seem alluring to those who would rather avoid medications, but overall they are similar to standard IVF with significantly lower success rates. Minus the cost of the medications, the other financial and time-intensive aspects of the procedure are the same. The morning monitoring, frequent appointments, surgical procedure to remove eggs, IVF lab work to develop a viable embryo, and later the transfer of the embryo to the uterus are all still a part of these procedures. Unfortunately, up to 25% of those undergoing Natural Cycle IVF do not produce a viable egg, and the pregnancy success rates for those that result in an embryo are only around 10%, much lower than standard IVF rates that can be as high as 60%.
A woman grows and matures a single egg in a normal monthly reproductive cycle. A standard IVF cycle includes 8-10 days of injectable medication which stimulates both ovaries to grow and mature multiple eggs. Blood work appointments and up to six ultrasounds are needed during a woman’s ovarian stimulation to make necessary adjustments to her medication and evaluate the maturity of eggs. The procedure for egg retrieval is then performed under anesthesia to remove the eggs from the ovaries, then fertilize them in our highly controlled laboratory. For 3-5 days fertilized embryos are then grown in the laboratory to determine which embryos have the highest chances of resulting in a pregnancy, and then one or more of those embryos are transferred to the uterus. If there are remaining high-quality embryos they can be frozen for future use.
Patients evaluating fertility centers and treatment options would be wise to look closely at success rates and should be wary of any clinic that does not offer recent statistics. Asking for a comparison of success rates for all IVF options will allow a patient to make the decision that is best for them. If value is a deciding factor, rather than just the cost of a single IVF cycle, for the money spent on a Standard IVF cycle, the chances for pregnancy and live birth is three to four times greater than with a Natural Cycle IVF treatment. There is also the potential of having frozen embryos in a Standard IVF cycle, making the value even greater. Frozen embryos provide another chance for pregnancy if the first cycle doesn’t work, additionally they provide the possibility of having additional children in the future. These benefits, as well as our Low Cost IVF make Standard IVF the best treatment option for most patients.
If you would like to learn more about our IVF procedures, or you have additional questions about Natural IVF, or other treatment options, please Contact Us.