What is a Natural Cycle IVF?
Natural Cycle IVF is a no-stimulation approach used to eliminate the use of fertility drugs. In a natural cycle of IVF, the woman is monitored closely as she approaches ovulation. She may be given an hCG “trigger” shot to induce ovulation and “ripen” her egg(s). Because no fertility drugs are administered, the body’s natural process of developing a single “dominant” follicle usually means that only a single egg develops. She then undergoes egg retrieval where the egg is extracted from her ovaries with an ultrasound-guided needle. The cycle then proceeds as a normal IVF cycle, with fertilization, culture and an embryo transfer (assuming the egg fertilizes and progresses normally).
The appeal of natural cycle IVF is in the cost savings (since fertility drugs can cost thousands of dollars) as well as the omission of fertility drugs and their side effects. The major drawback of natural cycle IVF is the low number of eggs typically retrieved and the associated likelihood that she will have no quality embryos to transfer.
SIRM offers an alternative to natural cycle IVF known as “Micro IVF” that uses a lower dosage of fertility drugs, but still results in the retrieval of multiple eggs. Micro IVF has outstanding success rates in the group of women that it was developed to help – namely, those with high ovarian reserve, regular ovulation, and tubal factor infertility. In these women, Micro IVF can be as successful as conventional IVF, and at a substantially discounted rate vs. standard IVF packages.