This milder form of IVF uses fewer drugs, making it less taxing on a woman’s body and more cost-effective for good candidates.
What is Minimal Stimulation IVF?
Minimal Stimulation IVF, also known as Mini-IVF, is a fertility treatment gaining popularity. In Mini-IVF, a doctor will prescribe a woman the least amount of fertility medication possible – usually a combination of oral medications and low-dose injectable medications – to help her produce eggs. The rationale is that less hormonal stimulation can lead to fewer, but higher quality, eggs. Additionally, not all women need, or benefit from, the high doses used during traditional IVF.
How it Differs from Conventional IVF
The procedure is similar to conventional IVF, but uses lower doses of mediation over a shorter period of time. A doctor will also obtain only 2 to ten eggs during retrieval – far less than conventional IVF.
The Benefits of Mini-IVF
Healthier Eggs. Recent research has shown that producing fewer eggs during a cycle may increase a woman’s chances of having healthier eggs. However, further evidence from well-conducted large trials is needed.
Potentially Lower Costs. Mini-IVF costs far less than conventional IVF because less medications are used, there are fewer visits to the infertility clinic, and retrieval may not require the services of an anesthesiologist. However, women must weight this against the possibility of needing to undergo more cycles.
Lower Risks. With Mini-IVF, there is lower risk of developing a multiple pregnancy. There is also lower risk of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome – a condition in which the ovaries become swollen and painful.
Fewer Embryos. While some couples might see fewer embryos as a disadvantage, others prefer not to have more embryos than they can use due to their personal beliefs.
As mentioned previously, Mini-IVF can be a great option for women at risk of ovarian hyper-stimulation or those with a history of poor response to aggressive stimulation. It may also be especially cost-effective for older patients who can’t produce multiple eggs from standard stimulation. In this group, a doctor can sometimes retrieve as many eggs from Mini-IVF as he or she would from conventional IVF.