Minimal stimulation in vitro fertilization (mini IVF) is a treatment option that can deliver excellent results for certain patient populations. If you are at particular risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, your fertility challenges are related to tubal structural abnormalities, or regular doses of fertility drugs are ill-advised due to existing health conditions, mini IVF might be the appropriate choice for you.
Mini IVF is a procedure that does not require the daily administration of fertility medications to facilitate the development of mature eggs; it requires only low doses of fertility drugs in conjunction with the patient’s natural cycle. When no stimulating drugs are used, the procedure is considered “natural IVF.”
If the patient has elected to use some fertility medications, minimal stimulation protocols involve approximately 100 mg per day (or lower) of orally administered clomiphene citrate between the third day of the patient’s cycle until the last stage of egg development. There are also relatively low-dose injections of hormones that stimulate follicle production before egg retrieval.
Standard IVF requires the patient to take oral and injectable drugs daily and undergo continuous monitoring during frequent clinic visits. While this technique markedly enhances the chances of successful conception and pregnancy in patients whose fertility challenges are caused by suboptimal egg production, there are other factors to consider. IVF requires a significant clinical commitment. This might place an undue stress burden on the patient and incur substantially higher costs than mini IVF.
When is Mini IVF Used?
Minimal stimulation is a viable option for patients who are younger than 35 years of age. It may also be a preferable alternative for patients for whom daily hormone injections could present medical complications. Younger, cis-female same-sex couples might also prefer mini or natural IVF if infertility isn’t a factor.
However, it might not be ideal in certain situations. Patients for whom male factor infertility is a contributing cause of unsuccessful conception might not be good candidates.
What are the Benefits of Mini IVF?
Patients might want to consider minimal stimulation treatment if they have concerns about receiving high doses of gonadotropin medications, which can trigger unpleasant side effects in some circumstances. Additionally, it might lower the likelihood of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), leading to complications during pregnancy and sometimes severe physical discomfort.
If you have personal concerns about creating multiple remaining embryos, mini IVF may be a better option than standard IVF. The minimal stimulation procedure typically generates a small number of embryos for immediate transfer or cryopreservation.
Is Mini IVF Right for Me?
Your fertility struggles, preferences, and goals will determine whether mini IVF offers the best potential for a successful pregnancy. During your consultation with the team at PRC, we will help you better understand your treatment options and work with you to discover which treatments or combinations of treatments will deliver the best chances of success.