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Micro IVF

What is Micro IVF?

Micro IVFis a form of in vitro fertilization where low levels of ovarian stimulation are achieved as opposed to the more aggressive ovarian stimulation that may involve injectable fertility drugs used in traditional IVF procedures. In many cases, this means taking oral fertility medication as opposed to injectable fertility medications, although some clinics may offer Micro IVF using an injectable fertility drug or some combination of the two. Fewer eggs are produced with Micro IVF compared to the traditional procedure, which may mean lower success rates.

How does Micro IVF work?

All of the steps involved in the traditional method of IVF are present in Micro IVF, only milder hormone stimulation is used. Eggs are extracted just as in the traditional procedure and combined with sperm in a dish to create embryos. Embryos are then transferred to the uterus where they may implant and develop.

What are the advantages of Micro IVF over other similar treatments?

Micro IVF uses milder hormone stimulation compared to traditional IVF procedures, which may help to minimize the possible side effects. The cost of medication is reduced with Micro IVF, which helps to lower the cost of each session of this procedure. While the success rate of each session may be lower than that of traditional IVF, some have reported the success rate of Micro IVF as being higher than with intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Who is a candidate for Micro IVF?

Micro IVF is commonly recommended for younger patients (below the age of 35) who have normal ovarian function. Those who have been recommended intrauterine insemination (IUI) or who have had failed attempts at IUI may be considered a candidate for this procedure and encouraged to compare the two options.

How is Micro IVF performed?

Milder hormone stimulation than with traditional IVF will be achieved through the use of oral medication or injectable medications or a combination of the two. Eggs will be retrieved using a fine needle under ultrasound guidance. An anesthetic is used during this process for patient comfort. About 15 to 30 minutes are required for the egg retrieval process.

Once the eggs are retrieved, they may be combined with sperm in a dish that also contains a nutrient medium. This produces embryos and those deemed of a high quality will be transferred to the uterus for implantation. A fine tube is used to place the embryos in the uterus. The number of embryos transferred  may be limited to reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies.

What are the risks of Micro IVF?

As with traditional IVF procedures, there is a risk of multiple births with Micro IVF. However, because there are fewer eggs produced, the risk of multiple births may be lower than that of traditional IVF. IVF has also been associated with ectopic pregnancy, which involves the embryo implanting in the fallopian tubes instead of in the uterus. As Micro IVF is a relatively new procedure, data regarding long-term risks or side effects, as well as success rates, are largely unknown. 

How does Micro IVF compare to Traditional IVF?

The main difference between Micro IVF and traditional IVF is that milder hormone stimulation is achieved in the former. This may reduce the cost of each session, but also lowers the overall success rate. Therefore, the overall cost of Micro IVF may be greater than that of traditional IVF in many cases, as more sessions may be required to achieve success.

Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective procedure. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.

By FertilityProRegistryStaff
Updated: January 26, 2011


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