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“Natural cycle IVF”

IVF treatment in an unstimulated cycle


Graphic representation female cycle | Photo: Shutterstock

For many women, starting fertility treatment is often associated with discomfort, since it entails hormone therapy involving the injection of specific preparations. Most women get used to it quickly, since what it does mean in any case is that they advance further on their way leading to the much longed-for aim: a child of their own.

Some women, however, are looking for an IVF therapy necessitating either a few doses of hormones or none at all. Terms such as “Natural cycle IVF” or “Mild Stimulation IVF” are bound to arouse interest and may sound promising at first.

“Natural cycle IVF” – How does it work?

“Natural cycle IVF” does not use hormones to stimulate the ovaries. Therefore, this form of IVF treatment may be suitable for women with a high risk of developing hormone-induced cancers. The treatment cycle is carried out within the natural menstrual cycle and is thus based on the spontaneous growth of one follicle followed by the retrieval of one oocyte just prior to ovulation. In order to avoid premature ovulation and to determine the precise timing of egg collection, there are several options available, such as, for instance, the use of antagonists, the close monitoring of LH levels in the urine or the blood. All this should take place with great accuracy, in order to be able to achieve a reasonable degree of success. The oocyte is collected and then inseminated in the laboratory with sperm obtained from the man’s semen sample (IVF, ICSI). The fertilized oocyte is kept in a culture medium inside an incubator until it has reached a certain stage of embryonic development (blastocyst stage). It is then transferred back into the uterus (embryo transfer).

Little prospect of success

The chances of becoming pregnant after “Natural cycle IVF” are mainly dependent upon the age of the woman and are no greater than 5-10 %. From the age of 35 onwards, these odds drop to
below 5 %.

IVF-treatment involving ovarian stimulation

At our IVF Centers fertility treatment is based on an individually-tailored stimulation protocol. The prescribed medicines are administered via injections, since this route of administration allows the necessary dose of hormones to be reached in order to optimally support the development of multiple ovarian follicles and the build-up of the uterine lining (the correct and regular intake of the medication is a prerequisite here).

Of course, alternative treatment methods, such as those of the “Natural cycle IVF”, may be discussed. It is, however, of utmost importance that the couple’s medical situation (incl. gyn. examination) be thoroughly investigated in order to identify in detail the underlying reasons for the subfertility and take appropriate measures.

Depending on the patients’ initial situation, it is our aim to enhance their chances of achieving a term pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child.

» Ovarian stimulation in fertility treatment

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