What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an artificial reproductive treatment that helps females who are unable to conceive naturally, become pregnant.
Types of IVF treatment available
Conventional IVF/ Stimulation IVF:
It is the most commonly used IVF treatment. During this IVF, the menstrual cycle is suppressed and then the ovaries are stimulated to produce several eggs. The eggs are then retrieved and combined with the partner’s sperm to form embryos. 2-3 best embryos are selected for implantation and others are either frozen or discarded.
Pros and Cons
- As the ovaries are stimulated, the side effects of hyperstimulation are seen many times. i.e multiple eggs being produced and chances of twins or triplets.
- There can be post egg retrieval internal bleeding as a bigger needle is used to retrieve multiple eggs.
- The chances of conception are good as the best embryos are selected from many for implantation.
Natural cycle in vitro fertilization
For this type of IVF treatment, the ovaries are not stimulated to produce many eggs; hence, only one egg that is produced as part of the normal menstrual cycle is used. This egg is collected and mixed with the partner’s sperm to produce an embryo, which is then implanted into the woman’s uterus.
Pros and Cons
- As the ovaries are not stimulated, there is no risk of hyperstimulation. This method is highly acceptable by some sects of people as there are no extra embryos produced, which may have to be discarded or frozen.
- The main drawback is that the success rate of this type of IVF is not high as only one embryo is transferred. Also, the chances of failure are more due to unsuccessful egg retrieval.
- This type of IVF is ideal for women having increased FSH levels, and in those where the stimulation IVF produces low-quality embryos.
Mild stimulation in vitro fertilization
This IVF is performed similarly to the standard in vitro fertilization, only it uses a lower dosage of hormones for a shorter time to stimulate the ovaries for producing many eggs. Initial suppression of the menstrual cycle can be bypassed.
Pros and Cons:
- This procedure reduces the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in females who have gone through it in past IVF cycles, and also in those suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- The downside of this type of IVF is that there are a lesser number of eggs for retrieval and hence, lesser embryos are available to select for transfer. Since the ovaries are not stimulated, the next cycle can be repeated in a short period of time. Three to four cycles can be done within six months.
- The success rate of this treatment is almost similar to standard IVF treatment.
- This type of IVF is a good option for females who are unable to produce several eggs with increased hormonal doses and those who had poor egg quality in previous cycles.
The other benefits of both, natural IVF and mild stimulation IVF is that these proceedings can be done with sedation only in most women as few eggs have to be retrieved, thus the cost of anesthesia is saved. As lesser eggs are to be retrieved, thinner needles are used and hence the chances of internal bleeding after the procedure are very less.