In the United States, one of the most commonly treated infertility related conditions is low-egg-count, clinically known as diminished ovarian reserve. This condition is where a woman’s ovaries produce few (if any) usable eggs for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), despite using the maximum amount of IVF medications.
We generally see our body’s ability to viable eggs begin to decline at around age 30, with increasing speed each year. Yet, not all women who suffer from low ovarian reserve are over 30. Some younger women struggle with the same condition, but don’t know how to recognize the signs. That’s why early consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist-infertility (REI) is crucial for success at any age.
Since patients with low ovarian reserve tend to have the same ovarian response to maximal doses of medications as they do to minimal doses of medications, there has been a new trend of using a minimal amount of ovary-stimulating drugs for patients struggling with poor ovarian reserve.
Some fertility experts now claim that using high doses of fertility drugs on women with poor egg reserve may actually lead to abnormal egg development when lower amounts may create just the right gentle boost a woman’s body needs to produce those precious, fragile eggs essential for reproduction.
Dr Allen Morgan, of Morgan Fertility and Reproductive Medicine in Old Bridge and Lakewood, NJ says he’s been using this approach since around 2007. “We’ve been using this technique for some time now. What we’ve found is that for some, a gentler fertility drug regimen leads to gentler growth of these delicate eggs, resulting in better outcomes in our patients for whom each egg really counts.”
Dr Morgan lists several benefits to using minimal stimulation for IVF:
Dramatically reduced cost of fertility medications
Less medicine is used
Better for the body
Significantly less side effects
Much lower number of fertility drug injections needed
Higher patient satisfaction
Same or even higher IVF success rates for some
According to Morgan, “Minimal stimulation gives us quite similar results to conventional IVF at half the cost to our patients with significantly less side effects. In fact, we’ve found that for older women and our patients with very low ovarian reserve, we actually find a higher success rate than conventional IVF with higher doses of fertility medications.”
It is important to note that some women don’t respond well to ovary-stimulating medications, regardless of age. For these patients, reducing the amount of fertility drugs taken for IVF is likely to worsen outcomes. That is why frequent monitoring of a woman’s ovarian response to medications during treatment - typically 2-3 times per week - is crucial.
Given the benefits and outcomes, Minimal Stimulation IVF is a promising new approach for reproductive endocrinologist-infertility experts. To find out more about the process, costs and whether this approach is right for you, visit the In Vitro Fertilization section of our website or contact us now to schedule an appointment.