In contrast with traditional IVF, Mini IVF focuses on quality rather than quantity of embryos. As a result, Mini IVF costs less, avoids the potential risks of taking too many medications and is becoming more popular at fertility clinics. Because the ovarian stimulation in Mini IVF results in three to four eggs and two or three embryos, it maximizes the efficiency of the cycle.
When families choose Mini IVF instead of traditional IVF, they can often get more eggs and reduce or avoid the risks and discomforts that accompany traditional IVF. In addition to its other benefits, Mini IVF reduces the time spent waiting between cycles and cuts or eliminates the pain associated with frequent injections. Finally, Mini IVF decreases the discomfort and health problems that result from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Mini IVF cost is typically half the price of traditional IVF and may be covered by health insurance.
The procedures followed for Mini IVF can vary, but all focus on gently stimulating the ovaries to create eggs and embryos of high quality. Birth control is commonly given before ovarian stimulation, but stimulation may be given without first using birth control in women who are over 35 years old. Gonadotropins are sometimes used in low doses. Fertility clinics use ultrasound and some blood testing for monitoring. Unlike with traditional IVF, Mini IVF requires less anesthesia during egg harvesting depending on the patient. IVF lab clinicians fertilize the eggs through insemination or, if male infertility is present, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Once the embryos are between three and five days old, they are placed back inside the uterus. Altogether, the process of Mini IVF takes between seven and 10 days.
Success rates with Mini IVF are comparable to or better than those of traditional IVF, especially in women younger than 35 who have normal ovarian reserve. Women with lower ovarian reserve tend to respond equally to Mini IVF compared with traditional IVF in terms of egg production and should consider this newer form of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Finally, women older than 40 tend to have better results from Mini IVF because its lower level of stimulation is more likely to produce higher-quality eggs and embryos.