Sticking to convention
Conventional IVF involves stimulating the ovaries to produce more eggs using fertility drugs. With natural conception, the ovaries usually release a single egg. Conventional IVF ensures there are multiple eggs to speed up the process and success of IVF. At the same time, fertility drugs have side effects, including ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), bloating, and mood swings.
What is natural IVF?
Natural IVF is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that involves skipping stimulant medication altogether. This means that only one egg will be retrieved during the cycle. Natural IVF requires close monitoring of the woman’s hormone levels. In most cases, the woman still receives a trigger shot so the egg can be released and extracted at the correct time. Once the egg is removed and combined with sperm, the normal IVF process resumes.
Pros and cons
The main advantage of natural IVF is that this method carries fewer risks than conventional IVF. Since no stimulant drugs are used during the treatment, the patient will experience fewer unpleasant side effects. The overall cost of treatment may be cheaper without fertility drugs, and women tend to feel more at ease with the process. Conversely, there are some disadvantages to skipping medication. The biggest issue is that retrieving only 1 egg each cycle lowers the overall chances of success. This means patients may need to have multiple retrievals done, increasing costs and time to pregnancy.
Is natural IVF right for you?
Natural IVF is typically recommended for young and healthy women or couples with male-factor infertility. Women with certain medical conditions, such as endometriosis, may also benefit from natural IVF. Conventional IVF improves speed, accuracy, and success rates, but natural IVF can be considered by women who wish to avoid using fertility medication.