Many women who are to undergo IVF treatment are deterred by the need for daily injections and the additional high costs of medications.
Other concerns include the risk of multiple pregnancy and resultant premature births, as well as the syndrome known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
The Mini-IVF™ procedure is an entirely new approach in this field. The technique was first developed by Prof. Kato in Japan and further refined by other pioneers of IVF, such as Dr. John Zhang at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York.
In up to 99 %, the use of Mini-IVF™ avoids an ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and requires either no injections at all or very few (3 – 4). While conventional IVF is associated with drug costs of 1200.00 – 2000.00 EUR, the expected drug costs for Mini-IVF™ are at most 380.00 – 400.00 EUR. Furthermore, the stimulation procedure is very simple. In conventional IVF, 15 – 20 egg cells are usually retrieved, of which only 4 – 5 eggs (depending on age) are of truly high quality. By contrast, Mini-IVF™ is only expected to result in the growth of 4 – 8 egg cells. What is remarkable is that this will also result in the growth of 3 – 5 high-quality egg cells. Therefore, despite the reduced number of egg cells, there is essentially no reduction in the number of top quality cells.
Nor is the so-called “artificial menopause injection” or “downregulation” required with Mini-IVF™. Premature ovulation is a rare occurrence with Mini-IVF™.
In most cases, the side effects for the woman, such as mild headache and/or fatigue, will only last a few days.
It is now known that the extremely high stimulation dose used for conventional IVF appears to result in a worse implantation rate after embryo transfer. One may now believe that this problem would be solved by the more restrained stimulation. Unfortunately, however, the tablets used for Mini-IVF™ have a negative effect on the structure of the mucous lining in the uterus. This means that on the one hand the same number of good egg cells may be obtained with fewer medication, but on the other hand the pregnancy rate is reduced due to the poor quality of the mucous lining. This problem is solved by cryopreservation of the egg cells or the inseminated egg cells. Because this cryopreservation is performed using a vitrification process, a cell “survival rate” of 95 – 98 % can be expected.
In these cases, at least, we therefore recommend cryo transfer during the natural cycle, whether during the next cycle or the one after that.
We also recommend what is known as “SET” (single embryo transfer) of one blastocyst in order to achieve pregnancy rates that would be expected from the transfer of 2 embryos in a cycle of conventional IVF without the 20 % risk of a twin pregnancy.
Which women are eligible for Mini-IVF™/ICSI?
- Women who would not like to undergo conventional IVF and the associated high-dose stimulation therapy
- Women deterred by the costs of conventional IVF
- Women who would like the benefit of having multiple eggs retrieved at once for the purpose of storing egg cells or using (pre-) inseminated egg cells (this includes what is known as “social freezing“)
- Women facing cancer treatment who would like to have egg cells (if they have no partner) or (pre-) inseminated egg cells (if they do have a partner) frozen
- Women who have had bad experiences with hormonal stimulation
- Women with a high risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
- So-called “low-responders”, i.e. women who respond poorly to hormonal stimulation and who have a lower ovarian reserve (premature menopause, women around their mid-40s)
- Older women, who often only produce 1 – 3 egg cells despite hormonal stimulation
- “Implantation failures”, i.e. women who have always had good embryos from conventional IVF but have never achieved the implantation of an embryo.