Mini-IVF Yields Mini Success

If your reproductive endocrinologist offered you the option of doing a less expensive form of In Vitro Fertilization, which not only required less injected medication but also had the same success rate as the more expensive kind, you would probably jump at it. Especially during an ongoing economic slump when financing options for infertility treatment are not readily available.

At the height of the recession in 2009, many IVF clinics started offering a procedure commonly known as Mini-IVF to their patients. Also called Low-Intensity or Eco-IVF, the procedure offered a much lower price tag than traditional In Vitro Fertilization. Coupled with the need for less medication, the potential upside for patients was clear. A savings of multiple thousands plus the same possiblility for pregnancy. The only problem was, success rates for Mini-IVF have recently been shown to be highly overrated.

According to a case-control pilot study reported in Reproductive Biomedicine Online and conducted at the Center for Human Reproduction, Mini-IVF results in lower pregnancy and take-home baby rates than traditional IVF.

The financial inducement for this procedure may also be overstated. Mini-IVF, if not successful on the first try, can actually cost more money if multiple cycles are required. This is due to the fact that a Mini-IVF cycle typically produces less embryos than its traditional forebearer and therefore, rarely creates the opportunity for left-over embryos to be cryopreserved for future cycles. Ironically, a number of IVF clinics offer free embryo cryopreservation and storage as an added inducement for the procedure, despite the fact that these services may not be needed.

Consensus among professionals on Mini-IVF is not unanimous, with some physicians remaining strong advocates of the procedure.

It may be tempting to try a Mini-IVF cycle, particularly during difficult economic times. However, if faced with this option, it makes sense for patients to take the long term view, be their own best advocates, and maintain a buyer beware position.

Source: Kuznar, Wayne. Low-Intensity IVF Reduces Pregnancy Chances. Infertility & Reproductive News

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