The number of babies born using in-vitro fertilization has reached an all time high. The technology is always improving. Now, some doctors are offering patients an alternative to traditional IVF: less medication at a lower cost. But does the “Mini-IVF” maximize results?
When Neeburbunn Lewis used IVF to get pregnant with her daughter, the fertility medications caused physical complications that landed her in the hospital. So, when she and her husband wanted to try for a second child they had to consider something different.
”Traditional IVF wasn’t an option for me personally because I did not want to risk going through over-stimulation again,” said Lewis.
Freddi Baranoff also tried IVF, but found it difficult emotionally and physically.
“I absolutely did not want to do injectable fertility meds,” said Baranoff.
So, both women opted for a newer procedure called Mini-IVF.
”What Mini-IVF is talking about is using less medicine, a more mild stimulation in hopes of getting good eggs but a lower number,” said Dr. Kurt Barnhart.
However, Barnhart, president of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, isn’t convinced this is a better alternative.
“If you’re working with fewer eggs you might actually result in a lower chance of getting pregnant. Right now the concern is it might be less expensive and less effective,” said Dr. Barnhart.
Studies comparing both procedures are limited, but Dr. John Zhang of the new hope fertility center says if you’re considering the Mini-IVF, it’s important to choose skilled doctors.
”You don’t have so many materials to work with and there’s no room for error,” said Dr. Barnhart.
Lewis got pregnant after one round of Mini-IVF. It took Baranoff three tries. Both women are grateful they learned of the procedure.
”I think it is extremely important for women to know that there is another option out there for them,” said Dr. Barnhart.
Zhang recommends Mini-IVF for younger patients, who are good candidates to produce high quality eggs, and also older women who may not produce many eggs even with high stimulation.
While the price is generally lower for Mini-IVF, if the cycle is not successful, then the cost can actually be greater in the long run.