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If you are contemplating in vitro fertilization (IVF), but are nervous about the hormone injections or worried about the IVF cost, you may have heard about other options such as Mini IVF or Natural Cycle IVF. Both of these forms of IVF are similar to conventional IVF in that an egg or eggs are retrieved from the woman's body, fertilized in the IVF lab and transferred after a few days with the hope that the embryo will implant and turn into a successful pregnancy and birth.
Mini IVF, also known as low stimulation IVF is a minimal stimulation IVF technique that is designed to retrieve fewer eggs and reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). With Mini IVF, typically the patient will take an oral fertility drug such as Clomid and a low dose of gonadotropin. The patient is monitored via ultrasound and blood work, and the eggs are retrieved.
Natural Cycle IVF is IVF without the use of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries. The patient is monitored during their natural cycle with ultrasounds and blood work to track the growth of the dominant follicle. When the dominant follicle is determined to be an appropriate size, the fertility doctor performs an egg retrieval.
Talk to your fertility doctor and ask a lot of questions about the pros and cons of the different types of IVF. While there has not been much research to determine how successful these alternatives to conventional IVF are, a new study was recently published on the efficacy of Mini IVF.