Minimal Stimulation IVF (MS-IVF) is a new and very popular form of IVF. It differs from Natural Cycle IVF in its use of some oral medication that stimulates ovaries to produce 2-5 follicles. In general, we will have 2-3 high quality embryos. MS-IVF differs from Conventional IVF by the number of injections used. The typical amount of injections is 2-3 during one treatment cycle.
Patients using the MS-IVF treatment will use an oral medication called Clomid, which will be taken once a day starting cycle day 3. We may add 2-3 injections of fertility drugs (Gonadotropins) depending on the patient's response to Clomid. Some patients may not need the Gonadotropin injection. We use the GnRH agonist (Synarel) nasal spray or Lupron injection to trigger final egg maturation instead of hCG injections. Compared to hCG, the GnRH agonist is more physiological and reduces the risk of ovarian cyst formation. Most importantly, it reduces the risk for Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
The procedure time for MS-IVF is much shorter because there are fewer follicles. For egg retrieval we typically use local anesthesia, which is much safer than IV sedation or general anesthesia. However, if a patient wishes to retrieve an egg using I.V. sedation, it is still available. With MS-IVF, we also use a much smaller needle for egg retrieval, resulting in a much safer and less painful procedure. Patients are able to walk in, walk out, and drive home after procedure.
Women who choose the MS-IVF treatment prefer a more holistic and natural approach. They often minimize the use of chemicals and drugs in their lifestyle. The advantages of MS-IVF in comparison to Natural Cycle IVF are that it will obtain a few more high quality eggs in each cycle, increasing the patient's chance of pregnancy per egg retrieval, and it also enhances the potential to freeze surplus embryos at each cycle.
Patients favor MS-IVF over Conventional IVF because it reduces side effects and health risks secondary to high-dose fertility hormone stimulation. In conventional IVF, due to the use of high-dose fertility hormones, it frequently produces a large amount of follicles, causing bloating and abdominal pain due to enlarged ovaries. Some patients may develop Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), a very serious medical condition. OHSS can cause weight gain, shortness of breath, and often hospitalization for 1-2 weeks, and very rarely fatality. MS-IVF avoids the risk of OHSS and significantly reduces the cost of fertility drugs.