With mini IVF, a milder and more natural ovarian stimulation is used in place of the standard IVF stimulation.
Oral medications such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid) and letrozole (Femara) are used to stimulate the ovaries in place of the usual injectable gonadotropins (Follistim, Gonal-F or Menopur). On occasion mixed protocols with oral medications and gonadotropins are used, but the total amount of gonadotropins used is a fraction of what is normally used in a standard IVF cycle. The intent is to produce less than eight eggs (oocytes).
HOW SUCCESSFUL IS MINI IVF?
The success of mini IVF depends on who you ask. Some reports suggest a pregnancy rate comparable with conventional IVF, while others report a much lower pregnancy rate. The reality is that, as with conventional IVF, factors such as the woman’s age, her ovarian reserve, and the medications used affect the success of mini IVF. Women with normal ovarian reserve should have better results than women with diminished ovarian reserve (high FSH and/or low AMH). Similarly, younger women should be more successful than older.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR IVF?
- Young women with normal ovarian reserve.
- Couples who, for religious, moral or personal reasons, want to limit the number of embryos created and don’t desire embryo or egg cryopreservation.
- Women at high risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or with a previous bad experience with hormonal (gonadotropin) stimulation.
- Candidates for intrauterine insemination (IUI) seeking a more effective treatment.
- Mini IVF has also been suggested as an option for women with diminished ovarian reserve. The thought is the woman will still produce the same number of eggs with milder stimulation, and the quality of the eggs may be better.