Mini or Micro IVF Treatment – Is It an Affordable Alternative?
In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a popular fertility treatment that in which an egg and sperm are combined outside in a lab facility, and the resulting embryo is transferred into the uterus. Mini IVF and Micro IVF are variations of this procedure, designed to provide more accessible and cost-effective options for those with fertility challenges. After trying hard, if you are unable to get pregnant, you will undoubtedly feel stressed. Mini IVF and Micro IVF approaches prioritise using fewer medications and fewer eggs than traditional IVF, resulting in a gentler and more affordable process. Let’s dig a little bit deep into these procedures and see if they suit you.
What Is Mini IVF or Micro IVF?
Minimal stimulation in vitro fertilisation or Mini IVF is similar to conventional IVF with regard to treatment procedures. In Mini IVF, you will be monitored throughout your cycle. The procedure of egg retrieval, fertilisation of the egg and the sperm in the lab, and embryo transfer will be the same as standard IVF. Micro IVF is one step ahead, where even fewer medications are used and an extremely small number of eggs are produced—sometimes just one or two. Micro IVF is generally suitable for women with a good ovarian reserve or those couples where male infertility is the main concern.
The difference between Mini IVF or Micro IVF and standard IVF procedure is the quantity of medication used to stimulate the ovaries to help them with egg production. IVF uses stronger medication and involves extracting more eggs, whereas Mini IVF or Micro IVF, as the name suggests, involves taking fewer eggs out with a weaker medication dosage.
Who Can Consider Mini IVF?
Mini IVF isn’t for everyone—it is essential to know who it benefits and why. In the following conditions, you can consider Mini IVF.
1. Those Who Have Low Ovarian Reserves
Most people opt for mini IVF for low ovarian reserve because, with a condition like this, high dosages of fertility drugs don’t necessarily mean high egg production. In this case, the procedure for lower egg production and focused Mini IVF treatments are more sensible.
2. Those Who Are Afraid of Needles
The fear of needles or injections, or trypanophobia, is very common. If you fear needles, you can opt for mini IVF. The lower dosages of fertility drugs mean you have fewer injections, which helps alleviate the fear of needles to a small extent.
3. Those Who Are at Risk of OHSS
Women at risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) are often asked to go through Mini IVF instead of IVF as it lowers the risk. This means women with PCOS are commonly asked to try Mini IVF first.
4. Those With Cancer
It is a common practice that cancer patients opt for IVF to preserve their eggs. It is important to know that some fertility drugs in high doses can worsen existing cancer. Hence, Mini IVF is recommended for those in this position and about to start with the chemo.
5. Those With Lower Cash Reserves
Mini IVF is a plausible and affordable option for those struggling to get pregnant and cannot afford full-blown IVF treatment. The most expensive part of IVF is the fertility drugs, and by lowering that, the affordability of IVF treatments significantly becomes possible.
How Different Is Minimal Stimulation IVF From Standard IVF?
The difference between Mini IVF and standard IVF is minimal. As mentioned above, the major difference is the use and dosage of fertility drugs. The type of drugs can also vary. For instance, standard IVF can use gonadotropin, a more powerful, high-dose fertility injectable drug. In the case of Mini IVF, this drug can be replaced by a milder Clomid. In IVF, the natural cycle of ovarian stimulation is impossible and must be induced by drugs. In Mini IVF, ovarian stimulation drugs can be avoided in some women altogether.
In terms of costs, standard IVF has a significantly higher cost than Mini IVF. However, the biggest difference in the procedures is related to embryo transfer. In standard IVF, multiple embryos are transferred to the womb, whereas in Mini IVF, fewer embryos are transferred.
How Is the Mini IVF Procedure Done?
The procedure for Mini IVF is as follows:
- The procedure involves close monitoring of your ovarian cycle.
- Once the eggs are ready, a needle is inserted into the abdominal region, and a few eggs are extracted.
- Separately, the partner’s sperm is extracted and stored.
- In a lab, the egg is fertilised with your partner’s sperm.
- The egg is then placed in a chamber to let it to develop into an embryo.
- Once an embryo is formed, it is re-inserted into the womb.
Pros of Mini IVF
Given below are some advantages of Mini IVF treatment.
- The cost of mini IVF is significantly low.
- The stress every time you visit the doctor reduces with fewer visits.
- Ultrasounds and needle sticks are also fewer in this procedure.
- One of the key advantages of both Mini and Micro IVF is the use of fewer fertility medications, which do not cause side effects and offer a milder experience.
- Because of fewer medications, the chances of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) are extremely low.
Cons of Mini IVF
Given below are some disadvantages of Mini IVF treatment.
- The single embryo transfer for Mini IVF lowers the chances of a pregnancy.
- With Mini IVF, you are less likely to have any leftover embryos for your future cycles.
What Are the Success Rates of Mini IVF?
The success rate for Mini IVF largely depends on underlying factors like fertility, age, and history of underlying conditions. While Mini and Micro IVF may have slightly lower success rates than traditional IVF, they still offer promising outcomes, especially for specific patient groups, like young women. Additionally, the success rate also depends on how closely the Mini IVF protocol is maintained.
How Much Does Mini IVF/Micro IVF Cost?
One of the biggest advantages of Mini IVF is that it costs way lesser than the conventional IVF procedure. Additionally, it is important to note that the price range for Mii IVF or Micro IVF varies from place to place. While the average cost of Mini IVF in India is around INR 70,000-150,000, in the US, it costs around $5000 to $7000 per cycle.
While considering if you should go in for standard IVF or Mini IVF, it is essential to consider not just the budget but your overall health, your partner’s feelings on the matter, and the risks involved with either procedure. Each person’s fertility journey is unique, and personalised treatment plans ensure the best possible outcomes. It is also crucial to consider that in the long term, failed Mini IVF cycles can be significantly more expensive, and they can also be more invasive. There are numerous other benefits to standard and mini IVF; contact your fertility expert to determine the right option for you.
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