If a woman’s fallopian tubes are damaged or a man’s sperm quality is poor, IVF (in vitro fertilization) is the most common form of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). In fact, IVF is a highly effective fertility treatment for other types of infertility as well. During in vitro fertilization, eggs are retrieved and fertilized in our laboratory, with the resulting embryos being placed into the uterus 2 to 5 days later. This procedure achieves remarkable pregnancy rates even in women with very damaged fallopian tubes, seemingly sterile husbands, and other “unexplained” cases of infertility. Problems with the husband’s sperm are rarely a serious issue because eggs can be fertilized with a very accurate process called ICSI.
The conventional hyperstimulation IVF treatment relies on daily injections of IVF hormone drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce the maximum number of eggs possible in each cycle. All eggs are targeted for stimulation regardless of quality, which means this fertility treatment method produces a surfeit of eggs, many of which are not viable. Thus, hyperstimulation generally produces three to five “quality” eggs viable for a sustainable pregnancy, much like our Mini-IVF™ treatment.
A woman must administer — on her own — daily shots (usually one to two daily for three to five weeks, or 20 to 60 per cycle) of Gonadotropins (Pergonal, Repronex, Menogon, Fertinex, Follistim, Gonal F, Puregon, Pregnyl, Novarel, Profasi, or Ovidrel) prior to egg retrieval. After the embryo transfer, she must self-inject daily shots of Progesterone supplemented with estrogen for two weeks until her first pregnancy blood test. These shots are very painful because they must be injected directly into muscle tissue. They are needed to thicken the uterine lining so it is more receptive and better able to support embryo implantation.
Women who elect to have conventional IVF rather than more gentle methods have been told more eggs collected each cycle will increase their chance of pregnancy. Our success rates with Mini-IVF™ show these claims to be untrue. As minimal stimulation IVF becomes a more widely available option, we believe more women will reject the notion that the quantity of eggs increases the chance of pregnancy. Nevertheless, conventional IVF has an important role to play, particularly for women who are concerned primarily with the quantity of eggs and for those under 35 who may produce more than three to five “quality eggs” with conventional IVF. In these cases conventional IVF may be the best method. The patient will have to go through one or two cycles of conventional IVF to find out if they are ideal candidates for this approach. Conventional IVF is also ideal for cancer patients who have little time to reserve eggs before radiation and must begin chemotherapy treatments in a timely manner.
Conventional IVF is the most costly form of IVF treatment. The procedure costs between $7,500 and $12,000, plus $2,500 to $5,000 for IVF drugs. Click here to read more about our IVF fees.