Natural cycle (no drugs) or mild stimulation IVF (few drugs)
Natural cycle IVF is similar to conventional IVF, with the only difference being that no drugs are administered to stimulate the ovaries (in some cases, a small dose of drugs may be administered to gain full control of ovulation). The patient is monitored with ultrasound scans and blood tests so as to track the development of the follicle.
When the dominant follicle reaches a suitable size, egg collection takes place. The oocyte is then fertilized in the laboratory in the same manner as in a typical IVF cycle.
If a viable embryo is produced, which is developing normally, it will be transferred to the uterus.
Natural cycle IVF has recently become popular as an alternative to conventional IVF.
This method has many benefits compared to standard IVF, including eliminating the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), no (or very few) gonadotropin injections and therefore lower cost, avoiding the production of super numerous embryos and the elimination of multiple pregnancies. The primary drawback is the reduced pregnancy rate in comparison to IVF with ovarian stimulation.
However, in some cases, such as poor ovarian response or advanced age, this technique may produce results comparable to those of ovarian stimulation cycles.