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Minimal Stimulation In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Finding Greater IVF Success for Lesspregnant woman in purple dress

The term “In Vitro Fertilization” conjures up many connotations and feelings. For many women, it is a reproductive medical process that reflects excess hormones, tremendous cost, vigorous financial debates with their spouse and no guarantee of pregnancy. Yet in many cases, IVF has been the best and sometimes only option for women struggling with infertility. However, what if In Vitro Fertilization came with the added benefits of identifying the egg, knowing that fertilization had occurred, and replacing an embryo? This means less hormones, lower cost, and fewer visits for the patient.

This is the very concept behind Minimal Stimulation In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

In this IVF treatment protocol, a lower stimulation of hormones is used. Some studies have even considered using Clomid alone. However, the best success rates have been with the combined use of Clomid and low-dose injectable hormones. Using this balanced combination with 1-5 eggs can be obtained through an egg retrieval with unparalleled results. In addition, there are fewer laboratory techniques applied to the eggs/embryos during minimal stimulation IVF. Typically, this does not involve intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), embryo biopsy for genetic analysis, or assisted egg hatching.

Instead of the more invasive procedures, the eggs are inseminated and allowed to fertilize on their own during Minimal Stimulation In Vitro Fertilization. The eggs are then cultured in the laboratory for three to five days. Currently, the highest pregnancy rates are achieved when the embryos are initially vitrified (frozen) and the lining is allowed to recover. Finally, after a short preparation period, one or two embryos are transferred back to the uterus.

Minimal Stimulation In Vitro Fertilization is a tremendously attractive option for women who meet the several important criteria. Typically, women who do not meet these criteria are less likely to succeed and may benefit from a more standard IVF approach.

potential candidates chart

The Advantages of Minimal Stimulation In Vitro Fertilization

So what are the advantages of Minimal Stimulation In Vitro Fertilization? Because the stimulation is lower, the cost of medications is less ($500-$1500 compared with $4000-$6000). The laboratory also has less to do when handling these embryos and thus the procedural fees are lower. Furthermore, there are fewer ultrasounds because of the lower stimulation in this IVF protocol. This translates to less time in your physician’s office. Because embryos are created, there is still the opportunity to make safe decisions about how many embryos to replace. This is important when patients are trying to minimize twins and triplets.

So with pregnancy rates that can be anywhere from 20-40% in studies, why would anyone not try this? First, the lower number of eggs produced makes this protocol less ideal as women age. There are also fewer opportunities to retrieve to the correct egg. Therefore, assessing the biochemical markers such as Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and antral follicle count (AFC) are critical. Furthermore, a semen analysis with a level of sperm that does not require individual injections into each egg is critical for success. Finally, the female anatomy needs to be normal and healthy. More than two failed cycles is likely to be an indication that this may not be the right treatment choice as well.

Minimal Stimulation IVF shows great potential for providing greater fertility success for less. Ultimately, patients and physicians alike may find that this option provides a solution for a large group of women who otherwise are not accessing appropriate care for their fertility challenges.

Are you interested in the possibility of utilizing Minimal stimulation In Vitro Fertilization for achieving conception and a successful pregnancy? Please contact the expert medical staff at Lane Fertility Institute for more information.

Dr. Danielle Lane Danielle E Lane, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist

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