Natural Cycle IVF (NC-IVF) is a new option for IVF treatment. Also called drug-free IVF, NC-IVF requires no fertility medication at all and thus avoids the drugs that would otherwise stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple follicles.
During the treatment, we follow the development of a naturally selected follicle and perform egg retrieval prior to its ovulation. It is commonly agreed that a naturally selected egg is of the best quality, and thus has the most potential to become a healthy baby.
NC-IVF is an IVF option for almost all patients of infertility. Three groups of patients would especially benefit from it:
Young patients with only a history of tubal disease or male factor infertility.
Women over 40 with elevated FSH or reduced ovarian reserve, or those have not had success with conventional IVF.
Patients with a history of hormone-sensitive cancer, or a strong family history of cancer.
It reduces the chances of side effects and/or complications resulting from fertility drugs, such as Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome (OHSS).
It results in a much shorter and safer procedure. Because only one or two eggs are collected, the procedure time is very short. In addition, probably only local anesthesia is used for egg retrieval, no I.V. sedation or general anesthesia is needed. Therefore, the risks and extra costs of general anesthesia are eliminated. Patients are able to walk in, walk out, and drive home after the procedure.
Multiple gestations are prevented because only one egg is retrieved and transferred. The risk of multiple pregnancies is less than 1%.
NC-IVF is less than half the price of conventional IVF. In addition, because it is a drug-free procedure, patients save $2000 -$3000 each cycle that they would have spent on medication with conventional IVF. More importantly, NC-IVF completely eliminates the stress and discomfort of daily injections.
It requires much less frequent monitoring. Most patients only need two to three office visits during NC-IVF, compared to six to seven with conventional IVF.
NC-IVF works regardless of a patient's age, FSH or AMH level, or antral follicle counts. With conventional IVF, patients are often recommended to a donor egg program if they only have a few follicles or a high FSH level. The cycle is frequently cancelled if less than 4 follicles are developed. At Life IVF Center, our goal is to retrieve single good egg, make one good embryo, and produce one healthy baby!
There are two limitations for this procedure.
Because we only have one dominant follicle developed in NC-IVF, we may not be able to get an egg or the egg may not develop into a healthy embryo.
Because we only have one egg, we don't have extra embryos to choose from or put away extra embryos for storage. However, if a patient wishes to have multiple embryos stored, we can freeze the embryos from the first few cycles before we start embryo transfer.