A Soft Touch
Not all infertility requires aggressive treatment
Natural in vitro fertilization (natural IVF) is the gentlest form of an IVF cycle. The familiar steps of IVF are all present: egg retrieval, fertilization in the laboratory, and the transfer of a healthy embryo to the uterus.
What’s missing is the hormonal medications used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Natural IVF relies on close monitoring of the patient’s own natural cycle and retrieving a single mature egg at the right time.
Which type of IVF you decide to pursue is very much an individual choice that should be decided upon between you and your physician. Below are some of the reasons that our patients have chosen natural IVF.
- Fewer injections, fewer visits
- Lack of hormone-stimulating medication eliminates the risk of side effects
- Fewer fertilized embryos created
- A more affordable form of IVF treatment
- Safer and healthier family-building option
For women with certain medical conditions and those who subscribe to a natural or holistic approach to their wellbeing may consider natural IVF to be a safer and healthier alternative to family-building. You may also consider natural IVF if:
- You’re are part of a couple suffering from infertility because of male factor but the woman has no infertility issues.
- You’ve experienced unsuccessful fertility treatment in the past and know that you respond poorly to ovarian stimulation, or you have other medical reasons for wanting to avoid hormone stimulating medication.
- You prefer a more gentle, simple, and holistic approach to achieve your fertility goals.
- You have ethical or religious reasons for avoiding the creation of multiple embryos.
- Financial considerations make the lower cost of natural IVF a more attractive option.
- You've been diagnosed with low ovarian reserve.
- You have a fear of needles and injections.
Every fertility clinic in the US, including Pearl Mini-IVF in San Diego, is required to report its results to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which publishes the summarized statistics. However, because the use of natural IVF is still relatively uncommon compared to regular IVF, statistics which isolate success rates for natural IVF aren’t available.
When natural IVF is paired with ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), success rates are comparable to traditional IVF, but since we’re dealing with only one egg at a time in natural IVF, the overall odds are reduced.
An egg may fail to fertilize, an embryo may not be of sufficient quality, or it may fail to implant successfully in the uterus. All of these conditions would necessitate a new cycle.
Overall, we estimate that the pregnancy rate is about 50% of the rate achieved in stimulated cycles, but there may be some evidence that the implantation rate per embryo is higher in natural IVF. Therefore, the lower success rate per cycle should be weighed against its other advantages.
While it is true that the cost of natural IVF is considerably less than regular IVF, it’s difficult to assign a cost for treatment prior to a physician visit and diagnostic testing.
There isn’t any one-size-fits-all approach, and even within natural IVF, there will be differences in the treatment plan according to the needs of each patient.
There are also a variety of personal circumstances that can influence the treatment plan, such as the scope of your insurance coverage. The most reliable way to determine the cost is to contact us and ask to speak with one of our financial counselors.
Learn more about natural IVF financing.