Infertility treatment involves many different options. Your personal concerns, medical considerations and of course finances each play a key role. We strive to provide you with all the information available, so you can make the right choice. We’re with you each step of the way.
One of the more recent “come backs” in treatment for infertility is Natural IVF. This method does away with the injections of ovary-stimulating hormones used in standard IVF and instead relies solely on the natural development of the egg.
How Natural IVF Works
Your ovary releases a mature egg each month. If natural fertilization occurs, the egg becomes an embryo and attaches to the uterine wall. Traditional IVF uses injected hormones to give your body a boost to produce more eggs at one time. More eggs equal more opportunities for viable embryos.
Your body naturally matures only one egg at a time, in most cases, well at least 99% of the time. Your doctor gives you an injection to trigger ovulation for optimal timing. This occurs at the end of your Natural IVF cycle.
Natural IVF has been around for decades, but now once again it has become popular. This is mostly due to the fact that some women of advanced reproductive age will only develop one or two eggs with conventional IVF which does not add much over natural cycle IVF. Additionally, there is a trend towards natural and homeopathic treatments in medicine which have become more popular over the recent years. Whereas natural cycle provides the same pregnancy chance compared to conventional IVF in cases where the egg reserve is severely diminished and there is only 1-2 eggs per cycle, in other patients with multiple eggs available, conventional IVF is always superior to natural cycle IVF. Therefore, it is important to make the distinction and determine which type of treatment is the best for each individual case.
Patients view Natural IVF as a more holistic approach to solving the issue of infertility. Sometimes, women seeking treatment for infertility consider this method a bridge between natural conception and standard IVF procedures. As stated above, there are no injections with Natural IVF, except for the injection at the end of the cycle to time the harvesting of the egg.
Patients Best Suited to Natural IVF
Natural IVF is an option for some patients with infertility. Those who would benefit from this natural option are:
- Women in their 20s with severe tubal disease and no other issues.
- Women in their 20s with mild male factor infertility and no other issues.
- Those women over 40 who have not had success with multiple IVF cycles, have a decreased ovarian reserve, have developed 1-2 eggs with standard IVF or suffer from a significantly elevated in FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) or a very low AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) value.
Benefits of Going Natural
There are more than a few benefits to using Natural IVF as a treatment for your infertility. Eligible candidates can look forward to these advantages:
- Natural IVF reduces your chance for complications and side effects which can result from fertility drugs. One of these side effects is Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) which can be extremely painful and a risk to future fertility. This is a very rare complication due to advancements in management of IVF cycles and medications to prevent this complication, but natural cycle eliminates such a risk.
- Your procedure time is much shorter than it would be with standard IVF and can be done under local anesthesia, although women will feel more comfortable under anesthesia for 10 minutes and avoid any discomfort or pain. Standard IVF egg retrieval will require 20-30 minutes of anesthesia, typically in the form of intravenous sedation.
- Natural IVF can be a successful option for some patients, but not all. You only need to produce one high quality egg. The goal is healthy egg/healthy embryo/healthy baby.
Limitations With Natural IVF
The benefits of Natural IVF are for those in the two extremes such as very young patients with tubal disease or those who have very low reserve with 1-2 egg maturing regardless of the treatment approach. Here are some of the limitation of Natural cycle IVF.
- There is no option to choose the best embryo as there will only be one embryo.
- The one egg may not be viable for fertilization or develop into a healthy embryo, which would result in possibly multiple Natural IVF cycles, increased cost and related complications.
- May need to do multiple cycles and puncture through the vaginal wall and into ovaries. Over time, the needle puncture sites may cause vulnerability to bleeding in subsequent egg retrievals due to multiple cycles.
- Lower pregnancy rates are reported with natural cycles compared to conventional IVF if the egg reserve is good or slightly low. Pregnancy rates are similar in women with very low egg reserve.
Is Natural IVF Right For You?
Interested in a more holistic approach to your infertility? Natural IVF might be the answer. To find out whether you ate a candidate for Natural IVF contact us for a consultation.