Thinking about a Mini/micro IVF cycle…confused? Could it all just be hype in order to draw in patients?
Mini/micro IVF often attracts people who are looking for a bargain. Remember the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true…it likely isn’t.” Some are drawn by the claim that it is superior in certain situations. It is not. The reality is you have to do multiple rounds to even approach the success rates of traditional cycles.
You have come to this page because your medical situation dictates you to pursue In-Vitro Fertilization and you are astounded at the costs. After the “sticker shock,” you started looking around on the internet and saw an advertisement about a type of IVF that is less expensive and is supposedly more successful. Now you are wondering if Mini/micro IVF, or some such named treatment protocol is right for you. Many are attracted by the low cost and “convenience” of the process. Hopefully curiosity or a healthy sense of doubt made you follow this thread and led you to this blog. Let me be 100% clear, at Fertility Partnership, after reviewing the success rates of these protocols we have decided that the bold claims made about them are just not substantiated. At Fertility Partnership we have made our name as the clinic that is trying to keep fertility treatment costs down while maintaining superior success rates and so we have truly investigated and even tried these protocols.
Mini/Micro IVF is a very poor substitute for the real IVF
I have seen some actually call it a “scam”. I personally would not go that far, but I do believe it is misleading to tell people that it is better than traditional IVF. But, I have even seen some programs give these cycles special names with Scandinavian countries attached as if giving the process a European name will make it more successful! You should take the time to look to see success rates of the programs who use these cycles. All clinics must send their data to the CDC and report “live birth rates”. Before you waste your resources, you should explore and not just listen to the hype.
Fertility Partnership performs traditional IVF for much less than other programs and is reporting higher live birth rates.
If you are looking for a bargain. The truth is that Mini/micro IVF cycles are far less successful than regular IVF. Just think about it; Mini/micro IVF would be easy for any clinic to do because the protocols are not secret. Therefore, if they were so successful and truly saved patients money why wouldn’t many other programs offer similar protocols? The reality is most people actually have to spend more to achieve a pregnancy with Mini/micro IVF. What the clinics that do Mini/micro IVF don’t tell you is that because they retrieve so few eggs they make very few embryos. They then recommend to freeze the embryos you do get, if any, and repeat the Mini/micro cycle and store more embryos until you have enough to test or transfer. This is called “embryo banking”. Only by doing several rounds of Mini/micro IVF and creating multiple frozen embryos they only begin to approach the success rates of Traditional IVF and you have spent a lot more money. It is much smarter and affordable to do a simple IVF cycle performed at a top clinic that is reasonably priced.
There have been claims that the so-called Mini/micro IVF protocols are especially beneficial for people with low egg reserves. Admittedly, that was the original idea behind the development of these cycles that use oral medications and low dose injections. It just didn’t pan out that way. Fertility Partnership has found, like many other top clinics, that with patients with lower egg reserves, it is best to maximize the number of eggs that you get in order to get the highest success rates. That means higher dose medications and no oral medications. In older patients with low egg reserves, then the ideal approach would certainly be to make as many embryos as possible and perform Preimplantation Genetic Screening-PGS to be sure they are genetically normal. However, that leads me down a completely different path for a different blog. Another important point to make about low egg reserves is that it is probably best to not put the embryos in fresh but actually freeze them. To illustrate that point, if you look at the national data summary you will notice that as women get older they are far more likely successful with one of their own frozen embryos then with a fresh transfer. But that is much different than what is done with Mini/Micro IVF where they put you through multiple rounds in order to store and bank embryos.
Lastly, I would like to say there is room for a low stimulation protocol but not one that includes oral medications. We have such protocol here at Fertility Partnership but we reserve it for people just want to limit the number of eggs they have retrieved. There is a blog on this website dedicated to that topic.
I sincerely hope that after reading this blog you will think twice before moving forward with any cycle that includes oral medications. Feel free to contact our office and I’ll be happy to speak with you directly regarding your options. The way we keep the cost down is by giving you a well-designed and managed traditional IVF cycle for the lowest cost possible, while still maintaining some of the highest IVF success rates available.