Mini-IVF is an Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) procedure, that uses lower doses of stimulation, therefore collecting less eggs than conventional IVF.
While conventional IVF aims to produce many eggs for retrieval, Mini-IVF uses a lower dose of hormone injections with the intent of retrieving no more than 3 to 6 eggs. As only a small number of eggs will be collected, the TVOA (Transvaginal Oocyte Aspiration) can be performed using a local anaesthetic rather than being admitted to hospital for a general anaesthesia. This results in a much quicker recovery and enables the option of doing multiple cycles back to back.
With this approach, the cost per cycle is lower, and the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), one of the main complications to IVF with standard stimulation protocols, is reduced.
Evidence from clinical trials have demonstrated improved chance of success using this approach in women with a poor ovarian reserve.
The lower level of hormone intervention associated with a Mini-IVF cycle brings with it a number of benefits:
Combined, these benefits mean that patients are able to do more cycles than conventional IVF in a shorter space of time.
A Mini-IVF cycle follows the same basic treatment steps as conventional IVF, as outlined below:
Low doses of hormone stimulation medication are self-administered from day 2 of your cycle for approximately one week, with your response being monitored by blood tests and ultrasound. Unlike conventional IVF or ICSI cycles, the aim in a Mini-IVF cycle is to to encourage the growth and development of a few follicles.
When your follicles approach maturity and your oestrogen level reaches its peak, you will be instructed to administer your trigger medication, a time-sensitive medication determines the time of your TVOA approximately 36 hours later. It is a quick procedure that can take place either in an operating theatre under a general anaesthetic, or under a local anaesthetic in our treatment room.
The morning following insemination, the scientists in the laboratory (Embryologists) will assess your eggs for fertilisation. Keeping you advised along the way, your embryos will then be grown, or cultured, in the laboratory.
During your embryo transfer, the doctor will very gently insert a speculum into your vagina, and a fine, soft tube is then carefully passed through the cervix allowing the embryo to be placed delicately into your uterus.
In the fortnight after your embryo transfer, your hormone levels will be monitored and supported, if necessary, until the outcome of your cycle is known.
Mini-IVF is an ideal treatment option for patients who are likely to experience (or have experienced) a poor response to higher levels of hormonal stimulation used in conventional IVF fails.
It may also be considered favourable to patients outside this criteria for the following reasons:
Not all women are appropriate candidates for Mini- IVF and your fertility specialist will discuss your specific situation with you. Circumstances do occur, most commonly related to variations in pelvic anatomy, which make transvaginal oocyte aspiration (TVOA) more difficult. In those situations, patients are not suitable for TVOA under local anaesthetic and would need to be admitted to hospital for the procedure.
Patients with normal ovarian reserve will have a better chance of success with conventional IVF treatment protocols.
Fertility North have pioneered the use of Mini-IVF in Perth, and are proud of the many success stories as a result of this treatment.
If you would like to learn more about this minimally invasive treatment option and how it might work for you, please contact our friendly team.