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Our Mini-stim IVF pregnancy results for patients under age 38

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Home : Mini-stim IVF™

Mini-stim™ IVF

Mini-IVF or Mini-stim IVF or Micro-IVF is an advanced reproductive technology that uses a gentler/milder ovulation induction to produce mature eggs than does conventional IVF. Our objective in the ovulation induction with Mini-stim IVF is to produce two good embryos. A second objective is to make the IVF process as easy as possible for the couple (without sacrificing quality).

Most women under 35 years old do not require the full power of conventional IVF in order to achieve pregnancy.  The eggs they produce are good enough that the large number produced with conventional IVF are not required to achieve pregnancy. When there are well defined problems such as male factor or tubal factor and their eggs are still of good quality, Mini-IVF may be a better approach for them than conventional IVF.  In such women, the pregnancy rate is about 2/3rds of conventional IVF, the cost is less than half of conventional IVF, minimal medications are used, the woman is not exposed to high levels of stimulated hormones, no or few embryos are wasted, the risk of twins is low, and the missed time from work is greatly reduced.

Most physicians believe that an ovulation induction that uses less medications and produces fewer embryos, produces better quality embryos than an ovulation induction that uses significantly higher doses of medications. Such an approach can result in significant savings in terms of both medications and monitoring. It can also be an easier process for a patient to undertake because of  fewer doctor visits and blood tests. 

There is no uniformity among programs in the use of the terms Mini-IVF, Micro-IVF, or Mini-stim IVF.  In our approach, we use oral and injecticible medications to stimulate the ovaries and do not use GnRH agonists or antagonists to suppress the LH surge.  We use other techniques to avoid a problematic LH surge.  Most programs use a GnRH antagonist (ganirelix or antagon) in their Mini-stim cycles. Medical practices get paid for the procedures they perform and Mini-stim IVF requires fewer procedures than traditional IVF.  The pregnancy rate with Mini-stim IVF is generally less than with conventional IVF and is not differentiated from conventional IVF in national reporting registries.  Doing much Mini-stim IVF lowers reported pregnancy rates for an IVF program which may be viewed as a problem in some programs. Any IVF program could offer Mini-IVF, but unless the program is committed to the concept of it, it may be hard to know what a patient is really getting and what appropriate pregnancy expectations should be.

Many women with age related infertility do not fully benefit from the powerful ovulation induction used for conventional IVF.  (Most women over age 37 have some degree of age related infertility.)  This is likely due to a number of factors such as having fewer eggs in their ovaries or having increased side effects from high doses of medications.   For age related subfertility much higher doses of injectible medications are commonly used with conventional IVF than for other types of infertility.  Medications costs are thus a much larger portion of the total cost of a cycle.  For women above age 37, we find that the pregnancy rate is as good with Mini-stim IVF as with conventional IVF.  A Mini-stim IVF approach benefits such patients with lower costs and a much more patient friendly treatment experience.

For Mini-stim IVF, the mild ovulation induction similar to what we have used over the years for IUI. The Mini-stim IVF approach is significantly more powerful than IUI.  For some groups of patients, it may be less effective than conventional IVF. However, the trade-off of possibly having to do more cycles to achieve pregnancy is compensated for by a lower cost and an easier experience.

Call us to learn more about Mini-IVF.   About two-thirds of patients planning to do conventional IVF could choose to do Mini IVF (or IVM) instead and expect the same results.  This could save you 1/2 to 2/3rds of the cost of a conventional IVF cycle as well as saving you time and avoiding many injections and blood tests.