Treatments

Minimal Stimulation IVF

For women unable to get pregnant naturally or through less invasive avenues like IUI, in vitro fertilization, or IVF, may seem like light at the end of the tunnel. However, this process can be time-consuming, challenging, and emotionally charged, especially for those uncomfortable with medical procedures that accompany harvesting and fertilizing eggs. For women seeking an easier and less invasive alternative, minimal stimulation IVF may hold the key to successful conception.

What Is a Minimum Stimulation Cycle?

Minimal stimulation IVF takes the same basic approach as traditional IVF, but without the high quantity of fertility medications.

Traditional IVF combines the harvesting of eggs with high doses of fertility drugs, increasing both the length of time between cycles and the cost of treatments. A minimum stimulation cycle takes a different approach, minimizing or eliminating the use of injectable fertility drugs to both increase cycle frequency and reduce the financial burden on patients. In some cases, women receive no fertility drugs at all, while in others, they may receive oral doses of clomiphene citrate and a simple hCG trigger shot.

In general, minimal IVF yields lower success rates than standard IVF treatments, but for some women, the difference in outcomes may be negligible at best.

What Are the Benefits of Minimal IVF?

Couples may decide upon minimal IVF for a number of reasons. In a standard full cycle of IVF, as many as 10 to 12 eggs are produced, yet only a few can be successfully implanted. Couples must then make a hard decision: to preserve the leftover eggs for a future cycle, or discard them. For many participants, this can create an ethical or religious conflict; they don’t want to throw away healthy eggs that took time and money to harvest, but freezing isn’t always a cost-effective or logical option when plans for future children are unknown.

In minimal stimulation IVF, enough eggs are produced for a single IVF cycle, eliminating concerns about how to handle additional eggs. For patients unsure about the road ahead, our physicians consider minimal IVF to be an excellent choice.

Who Is a Good Candidate for IVF Stimulation?

Despite the advantages, not all women will be good candidates for minimal IVF. For example, those with very low levels of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) or who are otherwise unable to release eggs normally may not see results from minimal stimulation IVF. However, for others, a minimal approach to IVF may yield positive results. Good candidates include:

  • Women who do not release many follicles, even with full stimulation IVF
  • Those at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
  • Families on a budget
  • Couples who are not interested in embryo cryopreservation, whether for personal, ethical, or religious reasons

Ultimately, it is up to each individual woman, her partner, and her medical support system to determine the efficacy of minimal IVF, and whether the benefits outweigh possible reductions in conception probability.

If minimal stimulation IVF sounds like a good option for you, we are happy to help. Please visit our contact page to request an appointment, or call us in Orlando at (407) 244-5515 or Jacksonville at (904) 260-0352.

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“Throughout our journey to conceive, Dr. Brown became so much more than our reproductive endocrinologist. He became our therapist, problem-solver, cheerleader, and—most importantly—our friend.”Greg & Dana