Micro/mini-IVF vs. Low Stimulation IVF
Is MicroMini IVF Right for You? Low Stimulation IVF Investigated
You have come to this page because you need or want to pursue in vitro fertilization and are wondering if a low stimulation protocol is right for you. You have seen the terms “micro” or “mini” used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization and are wondering if it is a procedure that could save you money or maybe be more successful. There has been a tremendous amount of hoopla by various programs and even in the media claiming that you can have your IVF during your lunch breaks. If you have already begun searching on this topic then you already know that these assertions are at best controversial. Some programs claim that Micro/mini IVF is a good option for just about everyone and others claim it’s the best option for people with “low egg reserve”. At Fertility Partnership we do not agree. We believe that it is a case of “if it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t true”.
So far the data clearly shows that these low dose protocols have a significantly LOWER success rate than Traditional IVF. Peer reviewed published studies do not support low dose protocols and the latest national banked data from around the USA are clearly not supportive of Micro/Mini IVF. The only way these protocols even start to approach the success rates of Traditional IVF is if you undergo several rounds of Micro/mini IVF and freeze whatever embryos you get and “pool” them together for a later transfer. That completely defeats the point because now your costs are actually greater than traditional IVF and there are a lot more procedures, office visits needles, etc.
Fertility Partnership is not the only clinic that has found in patients with lower egg reserves that it is best to maximize the number of eggs that you get in order to get the highest success rates. In fact we have achieved our highest success rates when we can make three or more day five embryos, called blastocysts, and perform Preimplantation Genetic Screening-PGS with a day six transfer. Our ongoing pregnancy rate (second trimester or beyond, 2014-15 data) is over 65% in women over 40 when we transfer a biopsy proven, genetically normal embryo on day six or even if we freeze and transfer later. We believe this proves that the issue of advanced age is not implantation but rather the genetic competency of the embryos made from an older woman. Therefore, the more embryos you make and the more you put in the more likely you will have a live birth. If you think about it, that’s what the Micro/mini IVF programs are doing when they put you through multiple rounds and pool the embryos. Unfortunately the promise of lower costs and more success is lost because you need multiple rounds that lead to more lost work hours and more money.
So to summarize, we do not recommend the low dose, Micro/mini IVF protocols if you’re just trying to save money or if you have a low egg reserve. It is self-defeating.
At Fertility Partnership we have found a niche for people who want to have a low stimulation IVF. These are people who actually have a good egg reserve but require IVF for another reason. A good example would be a woman who has had her tubes tied or a man who’s had a vasectomy and would like another child. Under these conditions we perform what we call Low-Stimulation Protocol IVF. Typically the woman is younger and the chances of a genetically normal embryo are much higher so we do not require a lot of embryos to get one healthy baby. These are couples that prefer not to have a lot of frozen embryos. In these cases, there is just a plumbing issue that needs to be bypassed and in vitro fertilization provides that “bypass”. There is no need to maximize the egg retrieval.
The Low Stimulation Protocol IVF used at the Fertility Partnership does not use clomiphene or any oral medication to stimulate the ovaries. We use just small amounts of injectable medications called gonadotropins. This of course lowers the cost and decreases the number of eggs that are retrieved which is actually the primary goal. We would like to retrieve no more than three or four mature eggs if possible. The chances of having extra embryos that need to be frozen is very small. The approximate cost is approximately $7000 with expected medication costs under $1000. We have no other hidden fees as injection of sperm (ICSI) and assisted hatching are included.
If you would like more information about our Low Stimulation Protocol just contact us here at Fertility Partnership, at (636) 441-7770.
We look forward to working with you.
1) Reprod Biomed Online. 2012 Apr;24(4):396-402. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2011.12.011. Epub 2012 Jan 8 A case-control pilot study of low-intensity IVF in good-prognosis patients. Gleicher N1, Weghofer A, Barad DH.
2) Utilization and success rates of unstimulated in vitro fertilization in the United States: an analysis of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology database. John David Gordon, Michael DiMattina, Andrea Reh, Awie Botes, Gerard Celia, Mark Payson et al. Vol 100. No. 2 August 2013. Pages 392-395.