Natural cycle IVF is what we call the process of using minimal injectable medications (gonadotropins) to assist the natural recruitment and harvesting of 1-2 follicles / eggs. It differs from traditional IVF in the quantity of stimulating medication prescribed as well as the number of eggs harvested. The advantages of natural cycle IVF include:
- Shorter cycle stimulation
- Lower medication costs
- Theoretically better egg quality by retrieving only the naturally selected eggs and not exposing them to higher dose medications
Studies have demonstrated that in low/ poor responders, higher doses of gonadotropins may not influence pregnancy outcomes.
Who is a candidate for natural cycle IVF?
- A patient with very low ovarian reserve who is not likely to respond to higher dose medications with more eggs.
- A younger patient with good ovarian reserve who wants to save on the cost of medications and/or does not want to store excess eggs/embryos for religious reasons.
- A patient who may be a candidate for egg donation but is not yet ready to move to that.
With that in mind, we recently compiled data on our success rates for patients with fewer than 5 eggs harvested. While they are lower than those with more eggs (as would be expected) they are in fact still very promising.
Success rates of fresh embryo transfer in cases with 1 to 5 eggs collected. N = 273