What Is Natural Cycle IVF

Women who are struggling with ovulating and infertility often begin to feel anxiety, stress and sometimes even depression. With several variations of treatment available and medicals teams that may all operate just a little different than one another, it can be difficult, stressful and nerve wracking trying to figure out what the right option is for your family.  What you may want to consider is natural cycle IVF treatment, which is the latest technology used for refreshing the ovulation process in order to increase the chances of getting pregnant. The traditional IVF (in-vitro fertilization) treatment involves  taking several medications orally or via injections to stimulate the ovulation process which allows you to release more than the normal amount of eggs.  The goal here is that this optimizes your chances and ability to find what many fertility doctors call the “golden” egg (i.e. the one that will be healthy enough to get you pregnant!).  It can be a bit tough physically and monetarily but it is surely worth everything.

Natural cycle IVF is a process that relies on the production of the natural egg by the ovary of the woman. The natural IVF cycle basically depends on the natural menstrual cycle without the use of fertility medications. The traditional IVF method involves many fertility medications to harvest the eggs along with the same process of taking the egg to the laboratory for fertilization and embryo transfer.

Traditional IVF treatment is often not tolerated by women who have good natural cycle performance. Women who have regular menstrual cycles may want to consider the natural IVF cycle, assuming no other reproductive issues have been identified.  With no fertility drugs involved, you can enhance the chances of pregnancy at considerably lower costs, risks and the time. The aim of the treatment is to collect the egg produced naturally by the ovaries. In this way, the egg produced is healthier than other ways of collecting it. Therefore, this increases the chances of getting pregnant and creating a healthy embryo.

The Process

The very first thing done in this natural cycle IVF treatment is the consultation and scans. This is what usually happens in the traditional IVF treatments and also occurs when involving natural cycles. At this point, the doctor will examine your situation and suggest a treatment plan according to your condition and develop your IVF timeline. Two weeks before your period, you will come into the clinic and start your session with a nurse. The entire process will be explained to the patient and the formalities, such as paperwork, etc., will be completed that they are out of the way. A scan will be performed on the first day of your period. After this scan, two or more scan sessions will be conducted regularly.  One will be near the 12th day and the other will be when the egg collection phase occurs, which is done under sedation. Several days later, usually after three to five days depending on embryo development, the blastocyst transfer takes place, as is customary with the standard IVF timeline.

Natural Cycle IVFAdvantages of Natural Cycle IVF

The biggest advantage of the natural cycle IVF is that it involves no fertility medications or oral injections. This is better for you, both physically and monetarily. Other benefits are mentioned below:

  • It is a very positive and beneficial approach towards the health and condition of the women who cannot get pregnant or are struggling with ovarian reserve. There are many reasons that become a hurdle in conceiving, but the natural cycle method with IVF makes everything a lot easier by giving you a chance to live your dream as well.
  • As the egg production process is completely natural, the eggs produced will be a lot healthier than the egg produced through fertility medication. Higher potency drugs can damage the lining of the womb making it unreceptive to pregnancy. But with the natural process, everyone remains the way it would be through a natural cycle
  • The natural IVF cycle is conducted during your natural menstrual cycle unlike the traditional IVF treatment. This offers less risks and lessor no drugs which will lead to decreased side effects as well.
  • Not only is the IVF natural cycle a safer option for women to get pregnant but it is also more affordable, making it easier to make the investment. No daily medications are involved which means less money is required.
  • The treatment can be repeated as well. However, the patients who have been affected by the ovarian stimulation drugs need to give a two or three-month break following the treatment, which obviously extends your timeline to produce a successful pregnancy if multiple cycles are needed.

Which candidates are more eligible for the treatment?

The best patients or the ones more suitable for the natural cycle treatment are the ones having a normal ovarian reserve. The tubal-factor infertility patients are also good candidates of the treatment. The process might be a bit difficult on the patients who have faced IVF failure previously and the ones with poor ovarian reserve. The chances of getting pregnant will most likely be lower in such cases but definitely not impossible.  Doctors that I have spoken with for my own personal situation had all the confidence in the world that they could get my wife pregnant.  It was just a matter of time (for multiple traditional IVF cycles / attempts) and money, as this is a costly procedure to do multiple times.  If you are able to try via the natural IVF cycle, you are already in a better position.

Natural cycle IVF success ratesNatural Cycle IVF success rates

With the improvements to the approach of natural cycle IVF, better results have started to show without giving the patients oral medication. The usage of advanced ultrasound techniques and the constantly improving scientific expertise are the major causes of the rising natural cycle IVF success rates. Women with ovarian reserve find that this natural method is more convenient than going for the tradition IVF process. While the success rates are increasing, we must not forget that they also depend upon the woman’s age, medical history, previous treatment history, sperm issues and the ovarian reserves as well.

Chances of having a baby when over age 35 with Natural Cycle IVF

The live birth rates are lower with the natural cycle IVF as compared to the traditional IVF. This is because the natural treatment does not rely on any fertility drugs but entirely on your own individual situation. From the statistics of the year 2013, we find the following birth rates:

  • 2% for women aged 38 to 39
  • 9% for women aged 40 to 42

Due to the dependence on the natural egg retrieval from the body, the cancellation rate [of that particular IVF cycle] can be higher, around 25% to 30%. This means that during some months of egg production, the egg may not be properly retrieved or released thus moving to the embryo transfer can be difficult. 70% to 75% women do not encounter this cancellation experience and continue to their embryo transfer which lowers the miscarriage risk as well.

What is the natural cycle IVF cost?

The natural cycle IVF has different cost rates at different clinics, as anyone would logically expect. Usually, the natural cycle IVF cost is $4,000 for one treatment, compared to $9,000 – $15,000 for traditional IVF. The IVF natural cycle treatment can be conducted more than once if the ovaries are not stimulated enough for releasing the eggs. Be sure to discuss all options with your medical team and choose the one that best fits you and your situation.