Our team of fertility doctors can help you determine whether mini IVF is right for you
In the world of fertility care, no two patients should have exactly the same treatment plan. Each patient who visits The Fertility Center of Las Vegas has a unique medical history and diagnosis. Not only that, but they also have family-building goals that are specific to them. For this reason, our Las Vegas fertility doctors offer a variety of treatments, including mini IVF.
While minimal stimulation IVF is not appropriate for all patients, it can be an effective path to parenthood for some. Our team explains what this fertility treatment is. They also answer questions about everything from how much this treatment costs to how it differs from traditional IVF.
What is mini IVF?
Many patients have never heard of this fertility treatment. Others may have heard this term before but do not know much about it. As a result, patients often ask our Las Vegas fertility doctors what mini IVF is. This term is interchangeable with minimal stimulation IVF, which means a patient takes less medication.
As you might have guessed from the name, this treatment involves most of the same steps of a traditional in vitro fertilization cycle.
- In most cases, ovarian stimulation using injectable fertility medications to promote egg growth and maturation, as well as monitoring appointments.
- An outpatient egg retrieval procedure to remove the mature eggs from the intended mother’s or egg donor’s ovarian follicles. These are the tiny sacs that contain the eggs.
- Fertilization in the IVF lab using a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
- Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), if selected by the patient, to determine which embryos are chromosomally normal and free of specific inheritable genetic illnesses.
- An embryo transfer to place one of the resulting embryos in the uterus of the intended mother or the gestational surrogate.
What are the differences between minimal stimulation and traditional IVF?
There are several differences when it comes to traditional and minimal stimulation IVF. During a mini cycle, the patient takes less medication to stimulate the ovaries. In some cases, the patient may not take any medication at all.
The types of fertility medications that a patient takes will vary depending on what type of IVF cycle they’re having.
- During traditional IVF, the patient will take injectable gonadotropins like Gonal-F or Follistim.
- With a mini cycle, the patient will either take an oral medication like Clomid or a lower dose of gonadotropins.
- In some cases, a patient might not take any medication except those to prevent ovulation before the egg retrieval procedure. It is called a natural cycle.
The aims of traditional and minimal stimulation IVF also vary. The goal of minimal stimulation IVF is to produce just a few eggs. In traditional IVF, the objective is to safely produce as many eggs as possible.
Who is a candidate for mini IVF?
One of our Las Vegas fertility doctors can help you determine whether this is an appropriate fertility treatment for you. Minimal stimulation IVF can often benefit patients in the following situations.
- Women who are preparing to undergo fertility preservation before cancer treatment and worry that fertility drugs might make the cancer worse.
- Patients with tubal infertility who have a good egg supply and regular ovulation.
- Women who have a higher risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) due to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Patients who are older with fewer eggs who wouldn’t produce many eggs even with the medications used for traditional IVF.
Patients who have a fear of needles or who don’t have the money for a traditional cycle may also benefit from a mini cycle.
What are the success rates of minimal stimulation IVF?
Minimal stimulation IVF does generally have lower success rates than conventional IVF. However, it can still help some patients get pregnant and have a baby.
One study looked at more than 550 women under age 40. These women underwent either mini IVF or traditional IVF for six months.
- Researchers found that 49% of the women who had minimal stimulation IVF eventually conceived and gave birth.
- This is compared to 63% of the women who had conventional IVF.
It’s also worth noting that none of the women who did a mini cycle developed OHSS. About 5% of the women who did traditional IVF did.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of mini IVF?
For many people, the biggest benefit of minimal stimulation IVF is the cost. If a patient conceives within one or two cycles of a mini cycle, there can be great cost savings in the area of fertility medication. However, if someone has to do multiple cycles of minimal stimulation IVF, it can end up being more expensive than traditional IVF.
Another benefit of minimal stimulation IVF relates to OHSS. Taking injectable fertility medications can increase the risk of OHSS. Because patients take fewer injectable medications or none at all with minimal stimulation, there is a lower risk of developing this condition.
There are also newer traditional IVF medications that can help reduce this risk for all patients. As a result, this potential benefit may not be as important today as it once was.
Some disadvantages of this treatment relate to its success rates. In some cases, patients might not have any mature eggs after one or two cycles. Additionally, retrieving fewer eggs means there are also fewer opportunities to end up with an embryo after fertilization in the lab. For these reasons, mini IVF is not a good option if a patient wants to freeze their eggs.
Another disadvantage is the rare but real risks of repeated surgeries with anesthesia to retrieve eggs. While the procedure is very safe, and we perform it routinely in our office surgical center every day, the need for more surgeries will increase the overall risk of rare complications.
How much does mini IVF cost?
The cost is one of the most appealing features of a mini cycle for most patients. However, there is only a small price difference between traditional and mini cycles. This is because these two types of cycles involve the same procedures.
The only real difference is in terms of medication costs, but there isn’t a huge cost savings. As a result, many patients decide to do traditional IVF once they realize that it doesn’t cost much more and improves the likelihood of ending up with multiple embryos.
Is mini IVF worth it?
Our Las Vegas fertility doctors generally recommend conventional IVF to most patients. In vitro fertilization with injectable fertility medication tends to have higher success rates. Additionally, our team carefully monitors our patients and their response to these medications. Doing so greatly reduces the risk of developing OHSS.
There are situations where minimal stimulation IVF may be appropriate. If you’d like to know whether you could be a candidate for this type of fertility treatment, contact us to schedule an appointment today.