If you are struggling with infertility, you have probably asked your fertility specialist about many different types of fertility treatments. You might have even done research on them. But you may not be aware of minimal stimulation IVF, which is more commonly referred to as mini IVF.
Whether or not you are fully educated on the treatment, you may be wondering whether or not you are a good candidate for mini IVF. Before that question can be answered, you will need to get to know the basics.
What is Mini IVF?
Minimal stimulation IVF (Mini IVF) is a variation of in-vitro fertilization designed for patients who have concerns, financial or otherwise, about the high doses of medications used in the standard IVF cycle.
In mini IVF, the basic process of IVF is followed, but smaller doses of injectable gonadotropins are used. Using mini IVF also minimizes the monitoring and laboratory intervention generally used in the standard version of the procedure. This subsequently lowers the cost, making the procedure more affordable for more patients.
Additionally, many women feel more comfortable with mini IVF because lower doses of hormone medication can seem gentler and easier on the body.
It should be noted that while this type of IVF may be an attractive option for many people, not all patients are candidates for mini IVF.
What Factors Make Someone a Good Candidate for mini IVF?
Because standard IVF is still regarded as the more effective fertility treatment between the two, some physicians will recommend that you choose it over mini IVF. This is especially true if your ovarian reserve is not low or if it is not high risk for you to take the larger amounts of fertility medication.
However, there are factors that can make a woman a better candidate for mini IVF than standard IVF.
You may be a good candidate for mini IVF if any of the following apply to you:
- You have a low ovarian reserve (a low number of eggs in the ovaries)
- You are uninsured, or your insurance does not cover fertility treatments and you cannot afford to pay for standard IVF out of pocket.
- You have PCOS and want to avoid the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
- You have a history of hormone-related cancer
- You want to avoid waiting the two to three months between cycles
Keep in mind, these factors do not guarantee candidacy for mini IVF and only your fertility doctor can help you decide if it is the right treatment for you.
What Does a Mini IVF Cycle Entail?
While mini IVF uses the same basic principles as standard IVF, the process is a bit different in regards to the amount of medication you take and the goal of egg retrieval.
You take a low dose of oral medication as well as lower doses of gonadotropins. Like in standard IVF, these medications stimulate ovulation and help ensure at least some the eggs that develop in the follicles are higher quality.
With IVF you want to generate as many eggs as possible for collection during every cycle for the best chance of pregnancy, but mini IVF is different in that the goal is three or four high-quality eggs. These eggs are then used to attempt to produce two or three high-quality embryos.
Then the standard process for egg retrieval, fertilization, and transfer is followed.
The focus on the quality of eggs and embryos over quantity is a big reason why women are interested in exploring this treatment. Some think of the process used in mini IVF as a more efficient version of the standard IVF cycle.
As previously discussed, the lower doses of fertility drugs lower the cost associated with IVF. The risk of side effects from taking the medication may also decrease.
However, just like with standard IVF, multiple cycles of mini IVF may be needed. And because of the small number of eggs retrieved each cycle, it may take longer for someone to get pregnant using this treatment method. As in all fertility treatments, effectiveness varies from woman to woman.
Only a thorough discussion with a qualified fertility specialist who knows your medical history can determine whether you would be a good candidate for mini IVF.
At Laurel Fertility Care, we are committed to developing the best possible treatment for you, whether it includes mini IVF or not. To learn more about mini IVF cycles at Laurel Fertility Care, call 415-673-919 or request an appointment online.