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Low-Cost IVF Options
If you’re concerned about IVF costs, then you may want to explore low-cost IVF alternatives. Many clinics now offer less expensive IVF options, including micro-IVF (also known as mini-IVF, low- or no-stim IVF, and eco-IVF) as well as natural cycle IVF.
Micro-IVF is much the same as conventional IVF with one very significant difference: although oral fertility drugs are used to stimulate egg maturation, there is little or no use of injectable fertility drugs.
Natural cycle IVF eliminates use of fertility drugs entirely.
These options aren’t appropriate for everyone, of course, but if you’re a good candidate they can offer real IVF cost savings. Candidates include women with poor response to ovulation stimulating fertility drugs, women under the age of 35 with a large supply of healthy eggs, and women who can’t tolerate fertility drugs.
Techniques like micro-IVF and natural cycle IVF may even be more appealing for some prospective parents because they are simpler, and less risky. The likelihood of multiple births is much lower and there are fewer risks of drug side effects. Lack of fertility drugs also eliminates risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome -- a very serious complication that affects about one percent of all women undergoing standard IVF treatment.
The major reason why micro-IVF and natural cycle IVF are less expensive than traditional IVF is that they don’t require the same type of intensive hormonal drug stimulation. So fertility drug costs are greatly reduced or eliminated, and fewer office visits are required. There is also less need for monitoring and testing, which saves on the cost of ultrasound procedures, blood draws and laboratory analysis. If less hormonal stimulation results in the woman producing fewer eggs, egg retrieval can even be done without sedation – which means some additional savings. The whole process requires less treatment time, too. Unlike conventional IVF, where a single cycle may require 6 to 8 weeks of daily injections, both micro-IVF and natural cycle IVF can produce results relatively quickly.
All of this combined makes these treatment options much more affordable. However, it’s important to bear in mind that success rates are generally not as high – and not every woman is a candidate for these IVF protocols.