Mini-IVF has become an extremely interesting topic in the world of infertility and IVF. Mini-IVF stands for minimal stimulation-in vitro fertilization protocol. This offers an alternative to conventional IVF. There are some women with diminished ovarian reserve that do not respond well to IVF medications, do not produce a large number of high-quality eggs, and do not have a great chance of success with conventional IVF. In the past, these patients have been told that donated eggs are their only chance to conceive a pregnancy. We now know that this is not exactly true. Mini-IVF may be another option for this particular group of patients.
Mini-IVF allows a patient to have an IVF procedure, but at a fraction of the cost. Instead of using injectable fertility medications which can be very costly, we can use oral medications to stimulate the ovaries.
THE MINI-IVF PROCESS
Typically, on day 3 of the menstrual cycle or after discontinuation of birth control pills, you will start on a low dose of clomiphene citrate (Clomid). We will continue the clomiphene until ultrasound monitoring and laboratory evaluation demonstrates follicles ready for ovulation and elevated estradiol levels. A small amount of injectable gonadotropin may be added depending of follicle growth and development. Clomid not only stimulates your own pituitary to release FSH and LH naturally, by blocking estrogen’s suppressing effect, but also blocks estrogen’s stimulation of ovulation. Therefore, we can prevent premature ovulation. Thus, with this simple change in medication protocol, clomiphene can stimulate the development of a smaller number of better-quality eggs for IVF. The eggs are better quality because you get an increase of your LH as well as FSH at the very beginning of the cycle, and you only need a small amount of FSH to get good eggs as long as you start in the beginning and continue with an equivalent low level of LH to give you the best quality eggs.
After follicle development is deemed acceptable, a simple injection, called the trigger shot, to induce final egg maturation will be utilized. We will then schedule the egg retrieval procedure. The remainder of the IVF process is similar to conventional IVF, where we then fertilize the eggs and sperm in the laboratory and create embryos.
For poor prognosis cases of older women with low ovarian reserve, there may be a huge advantage to Mini-IVF over high dose stimulation. Such patients normally yield very few eggs, even with huge doses of gonadotropin. Mini-IVF is just as likely to yield a similar number of eggs, but the egg quality could be better, and the cost of the medications is significantly reduced. Even in the worst-case scenario, when there are no eggs left at all, then at least the patients can discover this with less spent-on drugs than with traditional IVF.
This process does not give best outcome for every patient, and only a handful of patients will be appropriate candidates for Mini-IVF. Please discuss with your physician if Mini-IVF is for you.
More details of costs for these different approaches can be discussed during your initial consultation. To schedule a consultation to discuss if mini-IVF is the right for you call Denver Fertility at 720-464-3935 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.