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Ask Dr. Denker: Is Mini IVF Right for Me?

  • Category: IVF, FAQ
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Mark Denker, M.D.

You may have heard about mini IVF or low-dose IVF from friends or in the news. This protocol tweaks the standard ovarian stimulation phase of IVF with lower dosages of gonadotropin fertility medications. The theory is that women who are in their 20s with a good supply of eggs don’t need the extra stimulation, and women in their 40s with a depleted egg supply won’t produce extra eggs anyway.

You may be thinking, "What's not to like about mini IVF?"

Fertility medications make up a significant portion of the cost of IVF. Plus, who doesn’t want to avoid extra injections and trips to the fertility center for sonograms during ovarian stimulation.

Mini Stim for Embryo Banking

While he says there really is no such thing as mini IVF, Dr. Mark Denker does offer a similar option for women of advanced maternal age, or anyone showing signs of low ovarian reserve. At Palm Beach Fertility Center, we refer to the modified protocol as mini stim, or mini ovarian stimulation.

“IVF is IVF,” says Dr. Denker. “There’s really no way to eliminate the stages of ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, fertilization and embryo transfer.”

A gentler approach to ovarian stimulation, mini stim coaxes the ovaries to produce more eggs than usual, without over-doing it on the dose. Dr. Denker explains that at some point in a woman’s life, her ovaries will produce the same number of eggs during an IVF cycle, whether she receives 2 amps or 8 amps of injectable fertility medication.

Another key variable in a mini stim cycle is the timeframe in which it unfolds. Dr. Denker prefers to employ embryo banking, cryopreserving/freezing viable embryos over 2-3 cycles before proceeding with the IVF embryo transfer stage.

What’s the Bottom Line?

The benefits of this slower, gentler approach to IVF with frozen embryo transfer include reduced risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a primed uterine lining, better egg quality and, possibly, higher IVF success rates for women of advanced maternal age.

Cost is not really a variable because although a woman may require less medication, she will need additional treatment cycles.

Palm Beach Fertility Center and Dr. Denker specialize in proven techniques and innovative approaches to resolving infertility. If you feel the time is right to start or add to your family, contact our Boca Raton fertility center. We will review your history and discuss whether or not mini IVF is right for you.