The fertility care experts at IVFMD in Irving, Grapevine and Arlington, Texas, understand that it’s impossible to put a price tag on the value of having a child. However, these dedicated professionals know that cost can limit your options for IVF treatments. This is especially true if you have low egg reserves requiring multiple attempts to stimulate ovulation. In that case they often recommend what’s called a Mini IVF Protocol to decrease costs and increase your chances of becoming pregnant. For more information call IVFMD today for an appointment or use their online scheduling service.
Traditional IVF treatments require high doses of follicle stimulating hormones in order to have as many egg collected as possible; however, if you have very low egg reserve, stimulation protocols that use high doses of medications may not be the right approach.
Aggressive stimulation of the ovaries can only allow the follicles available for the current cycle to mature; all future follicles remain immature and don't respond to medications. No matter how much medication you receive, you will only generate as many mature follicles as your ovaries and nature can provide in a particular cycle.
Low egg reserve often means that there are only a few available follicles to grow, and using high doses of medications would only increase the medication costs without increasing the number of mature eggs. This is the reason why many patients with low egg reserve are not good candidates for conventional IVF.
The Mini IVF protocol works differently, namely by adding an oral medication that releases natural stimulating hormones from the pituitary gland to assist the lighter dose of injectable medications to stimulate those few available follicles.
We've worked with the Mini IVF long enough to convince us that this is a viable option for women with low egg reserve who desire to conceive their own biological children.
However, while the Mini IVF can save significantly on medication cost compared to traditional IVF, it still incurs the same cost associated with growing embryos in the laboratory environment.
A new technology now offers women the opportunity to carry their own developing embryos within their body to mimic conditions provided by the fallopian tubes, where fertilization and embryo development normally take place.
The INVOCELL® device is FDA-approved to help women carry their own embryos in the vagina during the first few days of embryo life. It is a tubular shell that contains an inner chamber to house the eggs and sperm, as well as a special media that supplies all the necessary nutrients and factors for early embryo development.
The process begins with collecting eggs that were produced by the mild stimulation of the Mini IVF protocol. Sperm and eggs are then placed with culture media in the INVOCELL® and are tightly sealed before being placed in the vagina where it is secured by a diaphragm for the next several days. After the required amount of time for the incubation, the embryos are recovered from the device and the best embryo is transferred to the uterus.
Rather than laboratory conditions, this device mimics nature's way of incubating embryos by housing them literally inside the woman's body during their initial development. The conditions of the INVOCELL® are meant to be very similar to those found in the fallopian tubes, which act as a natural incubator for the embryo as it travels to the uterus.
Intravaginal IVF was introduced during the 1980s as a less expensive alternative to traditional IVF but could not match the success rates of traditional IVF due to certain technological limitations.However, with the introduction of an improved culturing device such as the INVOCELL® and much better culture media, intravaginal IVF is now a viable option for many women especially those with low ovarian reserve.
IVF using INVOCELL® is new but the preliminary studies have shown that the rates of pregnancy achieved are equivalent to those of conventional IVF procedures.
In addition to the INVOCELL® we also employ other strategies to optimize your chances of success with Mini IVF including:
In summary, for most patients undergoing IVF treatment the standard approach has been to use high doses of ovarian stimulation medications to improve chances of pregnancy. However, for women with low ovarian reserve, a better option might be to use the gentler stimulation of the Mini IVF protocol to save embryos for future transfer.
By combining the INVOCELL® technology with the Mini IVF program we can maximize the savings on medication cost and laboratory cost for our patients. With the additional ability to select the optimal sperm and to safely freeze embryos for future transfer, our Mini IVF program can offer you a cost effective way to achieve pregnancy if you have low egg reserve.