The Mini Route To Parenthood
When a woman or couple has trouble getting pregnant, assisted reproductive technology (ART) can help. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a highly effective ART approach. With IVF, multiple eggs are retrieved from the body, combined with sperm in a lab, and then implanted into the uterine wall to achieve a viable pregnancy. Undergoing IVF typically requires multiple medications, uncomfortable injections, and a possible risk of side effects. With mini IVF, women can avoid some of these problems, using minimal stimulation to get pregnant.
Understanding mini IVF
Also referred to as minimal stimulation, mini IVF uses the same approach as traditional IVF but involves less medication. In some cases, lower doses of injectable fertility medications are used. The injections are often skipped altogether in favor of less powerful oral medication. The low-dose approach results in fewer eggs produced by the body, but pregnancy is still possible even with just a few eggs.
1. Less side effects
Since lower doses of medications are used, side effects are less likely to occur with mini IVF. Injectable fertility medications can often cause a woman to experience abdominal discomfort, bloating, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and mood swings. Additionally, fertility shots can cause temporary injection site pain and bruising. With mini IVF, the risk of side effects is much lower, allowing women to stay comfortable during fertility treatment.
2. Decreased risk of OHSS
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is an exaggerated response to hormone medication and a possible side effect of fertility treatment. When the ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs in a single cycle, the OHSS risk increases. Symptoms of OHSS can range from mild to severe and can include abdominal bloating, pain, weight gain, shortness of breath, nausea, and decreased urination. OHSS affects approximately 3-6% of women undergoing IVF, but the risk is thought to be lower when using minimal stimulation. In a recent study, 5.7% of women who underwent traditional IVF experienced moderate or severe OHSS, while no cases of OHSS were reported in the mini IVF group.
3. Fewer injections, lower cost
Some women fear shots, and a mini approach can reduce the number of injections needed for these individuals. For others, the convenience of fewer office visits for monitoring is a benefit. Many patients report cost savings with mini IVF since the medication doses are lower and injectables are often not used. Whatever the reasoning is for going with a mini round, patients typically enjoy fewer pokes and less money spent.
Less stimulation is possible
With many different IVF options, women can choose the best approach. Mini IVF is a great idea for patients who prefer a more natural approach to conception. With fewer injections and lower doses of medication, side effects are less likely to occur. OHSS is also much less likely to happen with a mini round, and by using fewer drugs, patients can save money. Remember that fewer eggs are retrieved during mini IVF, and more cycles may be required to achieve a pregnancy. However, a baby is possible with the right doctor and low-dose medication regimen.