A new study by CHR casts doubt on the effectiveness of low intensity IVF (LI-IVF) programs, also known as“mini IVF,”“natural IVF” and various other names.
The findings, published in the journalReproductive Biomedicine Online, revealed that LI-IVF programs, which use lower doses of fertility medications to reduce costs, do not measure up to claims of pregnancy rates comparable to those in conventionalIVF.
Many LI-IVF proponents claim that the procedure is more economical and “patient-friendly.” Researchers at CHR decided to evaluate this claim, and matched patients in LI-IVF cycles to comparable patients undergoing traditional IVF cycles. What they found was that patients in LI-IVF cycles produced significantly fewer oocytes and embryos, and demonstrated lower pregnancy rates.
Cost savings with LI-IVF were also unverifiable, as patients took longer to conceive, and needed more treatment cycles to get pregnant than patients in the traditional IVF program.
“LI-IVF appears to reduce pregnancy chances and prolongs time to conception without offering any appreciable compensatory financial benefits,” summarizes Norbert Gleicher, MD, the study’s lead author and medical director of CHR.
Dr. Gleicher adds that while CHR offers the procedure to patients, the center has always explained to patients that LI-IVF is experimental. “As the results of our study well demonstrate, doing otherwise would have been rather unethical.”
David Barad, MD, and co-author of the study added, “We must caution patients against resorting to ‘mini IVF’ or ‘natural IVF’ without carefully weighing their options. Until more data becomes available, physicians should offer LI-IVF only as an experimental procedure.”