Safer IVF

28 Apr 2012

Why is Natural Cycle /Modified Natural cycle IVF Safer?

Natural cycle IVF works within the woman’s natural cycle, the naturally selected, single mature egg is collected from the ovary for fertilisation and a single embryo is transferred. Doctors use ultrasound to monitor the cycle and check that the blood supply to the developing egg is healthy. As with conventional IVF, it is introduced to the sperm in a petri dish and once fertilised, it is implanted in the womb. Drugs are used only to block the egg ovulating before it is harvested.

With no artificial suppression and stimulation women feel that they are in control. It has the added bonus that it costs less and simplifies treatment. In modified natural cycle, medication is given for 2-3 days in your natural cycle to increase your chances of success.

However there are other much bigger safety issues about the long-term health of the mother and baby which are now causing people to question the use of large doses of drugs in conventional IVF.

  • Nearly half of all eggs collected in standard IVF cycles are chromosomally abnormal, we know that a more natural approach is likely to yield better quality eggs and a healthier lining of the womb and so is more likely to result in a healthy, higher birth weight and  full-term baby.
  • We know that Natural Cycle IVF yields naturally selected egg with less abnormality, and more chance of embryo implanting.
  • We know that Natural Cycle IVF avoids Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) which in its severe form can be potentially fatal.
  • We know that if you are at high risk of developing oestrogen related cancer because of family history or have endometriosis or other conditions (eg: melanoma or clotting problems) that would be made worse by ovarian stimulating drugs, natural cycle IVF would be beneficial to protect your health.
  • We know  that the world’s first ‘test-tube baby’, Louise Brown, was born in 1978 using IVF without the use of stimulating drugs and she has now had her own baby naturally.

Now we have the advanced technology to be able to use fewer drugs we should be using it.

It is your egg that helps you to have a baby and drugs are not always needed if you are ovulating naturally. The success of IVF depends on the “quality” and not “quantity” of eggs and embryos.