Sometimes, “Less is More..”: Minimal stimulation IVF and Natural cycle IVF

Minimal stimulation IVF is when smaller amounts of stimulation medications are used to recruit a smaller number of eggs in an IVF cycle. Natural cycle IVF is when no medications are used, in essence rivaling a “natural cycle”, where a single mature follicle is recruited and retrieved for fertilization. Obviously, using less drugs or no drugs will significantly reduce medication costs.

In certain circumstances, minimal stimulation IVF, or natural cycle IVF, may be a better choice for you. In fact, studies have shown that when less drugs are used, while fewer eggs are retrieved, pregnancy rates are not sacrificed. Mini stim or natural cycle IVF may be appropriate for you if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have a history of hormone dependent malignancy
  • You have a history of deep venous thromboembolism or pulmonary embolism, or are otherwise at high risk for one. (certain underlying clotting disorders)
  • You have a history of significant ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome with previous cycles of gonadotropins
  • You have poor ovarian reserve or advanced age, or a history of few eggs retrieved (<5) in a previous cycle, despite high amounts of drugs being used.

Clomid, an oral drug, can also sometimes be used in combination with lower amounts of injectible stimulation drugs. This may help recruitment of early follicles, especially among poor responding patients.

Ask your doctor if these money saving options make sense for you.