Minimal Stimulation IVF
Minimal stimulation IVF, also called, Mini IVF, Soft IVF, or Micro IVF, is a relatively new Advanced Reproductive Technology (ART) technique that offers a more conservative version of ovarian stimulation compared to the regular In Vitro Fertilization.
What is Minimal Stimulation IVF?
Minimal IVF can be an excellent ART procedure to bridge the gap between Natural Cycle IVF and traditional IVF. In a Natural IVF cycle no ovarian stimulation is performed (no medications are taken), and the typical yield is 1-2 eggs which may or may not result in an embryo after fertilization. Minimal IVF stimulation will yield, on average, 3-6 eggs and can produce 1-4 embryos, increasing the chances for at least one healthy embryo for transplantation. Traditional IVF uses a high dose of gonadotropins to assure that there are as many eggs retrieved as possible.
How Does Minimal Stimulation IVF Work?
In Minimal stimulation IVF, we administer very less medication during the course of the IVF cycle. These drugs are usually letrozole an oral ovulation agent combined with low doses of gonadotropins.
Once follicles (sacs containing eggs) reach the right size, we retrieve the eggs from the ovary with the use of intravenous sedation. The eggs are then fertilized in the IVF laboratory and the embryos are transferred back into the woman’s uterus.
The rest of the laboratory process is very similar to traditional IVF. However, unlike traditional IVF which can produce multiple eggs (typically > 8), Minimal IVF usually results in the production of less number of eggs and hence only a few embryos (1-6).
Those who are opting for Minimal IVF cycle usually do not have extra embryos available for freezing for a second cycle.
Should You Consider Minimal Stimulation IVF?
The choice of Minimal IVF depends on patient preference and specific medical conditions as well as hormone levels.
Women of all reproductive ages with reduced ovarian reserve often produce lower number of eggs irrespective of the stimulation dose and may benefit from Minimal IVF as well. Some patients over 40 years of age have benefited from Minimal IVF if traditional IVF had previously resulted in poor quality embryos.
In select groups of patients (under the age of 35, normal ovarian reserve) pregnancy success rates for Minimal IVF treatment are comparable to traditional IVF in a fresh cycle.
Risks in Minimal Stimulation IVF
The major risks associated with a Minimal IVF cycle are the following:
- The chance of having no eggs retrieved
- The chance of having no embryos available for transfer
Advantages of Minimal Stimulation IVF
Minimal IVF can bring down the cost of IVF and also the side effects of medication is less compared to traditional IVF. However, the cumulative pregnancy rates (fresh plus frozen embryo replacement cycles) are less compared to traditional IVF cycles.
How Is Minimal Stimulation IVF Done?
Minimal IVF protocols differ from clinic to clinic. Any patient interested in this technique should talk to their clinic about their experience with Minimal IVF and determine what their protocols are for stimulation and what their particular success rate is.
Minimal IVF protocols may begin with a natural cycle or after short course of birth control pills (oral contraceptive pills or OCPs) to regulate the cycle. This is then followed by ovarian stimulation with oral and injectable ovulation induction agents.
How Much Does Minimal Stimulation IVF Cost?
The cost of Minimal Stimulation IVF varies slightly depending on the individual patient’s needs due to the medication cost involved and whether additional procedures such as ICSI or embryo freezing is used during the cycle.In general, Minimal IVF will cost significantly less than traditional IVF.
Minimal Stimulation IVF at MotherToBe
At MotherToBe we specialize in Minimal IVF protocols that are safe, proven, effective, and highly affordable.
A comprehensive consultation with us will help determine if you are a good candidate for Minimal IVF and or what other courses of action may lead you on your path to a healthy pregnancy.
To learn if this could be the right path for you, give us a call for more information on IVF Procedures.