Difference Between Mini IVF vs Conventional IVF

by | Sep 16, 2023 | IVF

Understanding Mini IVF and Conventional IVF

In the realm of assisted reproductive technology (ART), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) stands as a beacon of hope for individuals and couples struggling with infertility. However, not all IVF procedures are created equal. Two primary approaches to IVF are Mini IVF and Conventional IVF, each tailored to meet distinct needs and circumstances. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into these procedures, and their suitability for different patients, and walk through the step-by-step processes involved in each.

 

What is Mini IVF?

Mini IVF, short for Minimal Stimulation IVF, is a modified form of conventional IVF. While both procedures share the overarching goal of helping individuals and couples achieve pregnancy, Mini IVF is characterized by its gentler approach to ovarian stimulation. In a Mini IVF cycle, lower doses of fertility medications are used to stimulate the ovaries, resulting in the development of fewer eggs compared to conventional IVF.

 

What is Conventional IVF?

Conventional IVF, often simply referred to as IVF, involves a more aggressive approach to ovarian stimulation. Higher doses of fertility medications are administered to stimulate the ovaries, leading to the production of a greater number of eggs. This increased egg yield provides more opportunities for fertilization and embryo selection.

 

Who Should Consider Mini IVF?

Mini IVF may be a suitable option for individuals or couples facing specific circumstances, including:

  1. Women with Low Ovarian Reserve: Women with diminished ovarian reserve, characterized by a lower quantity of eggs or reduced egg quality, may benefit from Mini IVF. It is a less taxing approach on the ovaries, making it a preferable choice for those with limited egg reserves.
  2. Elevated Risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): Women at risk of OHSS, a condition where the ovaries become swollen and painful due to excessive stimulation, can opt for Mini IVF to minimize this risk. The milder stimulation in Mini IVF reduces the chances of OHSS.
  3. Previous Unsuccessful IVF Attempts: Individuals who have undergone multiple unsuccessful conventional IVF cycles may consider switching to Mini IVF as an alternative approach that could yield better results with fewer side effects.
  4. Personal Preference: Some patients simply prefer a less aggressive approach to fertility treatment, valuing the reduced use of medications and a potentially lower risk of complications.

 

Who Should Consider Conventional IVF?

Conventional IVF is typically recommended for patients with different needs or preferences, including:

  1. Younger Patients with Adequate Ovarian Reserve: Younger women with a good ovarian reserve are often candidates for conventional IVF. The higher egg yield can increase the chances of successful fertilization and embryo selection.
  2. Male Factor Infertility: Couples with male factor infertility issues, where sperm quality or quantity is a concern, may choose conventional IVF to maximize the chances of successful fertilization by providing a larger number of eggs.
  3. Higher Chances of Genetic Abnormalities: When there is an increased risk of genetic abnormalities in embryos, conventional IVF can offer more embryos to choose from, increasing the likelihood of selecting healthy embryos through genetic testing.
  4. Previous Successful Conventional IVF: Patients who have had previous successful outcomes with conventional IVF may opt to continue with this approach, as it aligns with their prior experience and expectations.

 

Mini IVF Process Step-by-Step

Now, let’s explore the step-by-step process of Mini IVF:

  1. Ovarian Stimulation: In Mini IVF, the patient receives lower doses of fertility medications, such as Clomiphene or Letrozole, to stimulate the ovaries. These medications encourage the growth of a smaller number of follicles, each containing an egg.
  2. Monitoring: During the stimulation phase, regular monitoring through blood tests and ultrasound scans helps track follicle development. This ensures the eggs are maturing properly and helps determine the optimal time for egg retrieval.
  3. Egg Retrieval: Once the follicles reach an appropriate size, a minor surgical procedure called egg retrieval is performed. A thin needle is guided through the vaginal wall to extract the mature eggs from the ovaries.
  4. Fertilization: The retrieved eggs are then fertilized with sperm, either from a partner or a sperm donor, in a laboratory setting. The resulting embryos are closely monitored for development.
  5. Embryo Transfer: One or more of the developed embryos are selected for transfer into the patient’s uterus. This is typically done a few days after fertilization. Any excess embryos may be frozen for future use.

 

Conventional IVF Procedure Step-by-Step

Now, let’s outline the step-by-step process of Conventional IVF:

  1. Ovarian Stimulation: In Conventional IVF, higher doses of fertility medications, often including gonadotropins, are administered to stimulate the ovaries. This leads to the development of a larger number of follicles, each containing an egg.
  2. Monitoring: Similar to Mini IVF, regular monitoring through blood tests and ultrasound scans is essential to track follicle development and hormone levels.
  3. Egg Retrieval: Once the follicles reach the desired size, egg retrieval is performed. This procedure is identical to that in Mini IVF, involving the use of a needle to collect mature eggs from the ovaries.
  4. Fertilization: The retrieved eggs are fertilized in the laboratory with sperm. Due to the larger number of eggs produced, Conventional IVF often yields a higher number of embryos for selection.
  5. Embryo Selection and Transfer: Embryos are cultured in the lab for several days, allowing for thorough evaluation. The most viable embryos are selected for transfer into the uterus, typically on day 3 or day 5 after fertilization. Any excess embryos can be frozen for future use.

 

Benefits of Mini IVF

  1. Reduced Medication Use: One of the primary benefits of Mini IVF is the minimal use of fertility medications. This can be advantageous for patients who are sensitive to these medications or wish to avoid potential side effects. Lower medication costs are also a notable benefit.
  2. Lower Risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): Mini IVF’s gentler approach to ovarian stimulation significantly reduces the risk of OHSS, a potentially serious condition where the ovaries become swollen and painful. This makes Mini IVF a safer option for patients at risk of OHSS.
  3. Less Discomfort: Because Mini IVF involves milder ovarian stimulation, patients often experience less discomfort and fewer side effects during the treatment cycle. This can lead to a more comfortable and less stressful experience.
  4. Reduced Multiple Pregnancy Risk: With fewer eggs produced in Mini IVF, there is a lower likelihood of multiple pregnancies (e.g., twins or triplets). This can decrease the risks associated with carrying and delivering multiple babies.
  5. Suitable for Low Ovarian Reserve: Mini IVF is a viable option for individuals with low ovarian reserve, as it can yield viable eggs without overstimulating the ovaries. This provides hope for those who might have fewer eggs available for fertilization.

 

Benefits of Conventional IVF

  1. Higher Pregnancy Success Rates: Conventional IVF typically yields a larger number of eggs and embryos, increasing the chances of successful fertilization and embryo selection. This can lead to higher pregnancy success rates, especially for younger patients with good ovarian reserve.
  2. More Embryo Selection Options: The abundance of embryos produced in Conventional IVF allows for more comprehensive selection and genetic testing. This can help identify and transfer the healthiest embryos, reducing the risk of genetic abnormalities.
  3. Better Options for Male Factor Infertility: Couples dealing with male factor infertility may benefit from Conventional IVF, as it provides a greater number of eggs to potentially overcome sperm-related issues and achieve fertilization.
  4. Proven Track Record: Conventional IVF has a long history of successful outcomes and is a well-established fertility treatment option. Many patients have achieved their goal of parenthood through this method.
  5. Suitable for a Range of Patients: Conventional IVF can be tailored to meet the needs of a diverse range of patients, making it a versatile option for various infertility cases.

 

Risks of Mini IVF

  1. Lower Egg Yield: One of the inherent risks of Mini IVF is the lower number of eggs produced during ovarian stimulation. This can limit the number of embryos available for selection and may reduce the chances of a successful pregnancy.
  2. Reduced Chances of Pregnancy: Due to the smaller number of eggs, Mini IVF may have lower success rates compared to Conventional IVF, especially in cases where multiple eggs are needed to achieve fertilization and embryo selection.
  3. Multiple Cycles May Be Required: Because Mini IVF may yield fewer eggs and embryos, some patients may require multiple treatment cycles to achieve a successful pregnancy. This can increase the overall cost and emotional burden of the process.
  4. Not Ideal for All Patients: Mini IVF is not suitable for all patients, particularly those who require a higher number of eggs or have a good ovarian reserve. Choosing Mini IVF inappropriately may reduce the chances of success.

 

Risks of Conventional IVF

  1. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): Conventional IVF, with its high-dose ovarian stimulation, carries a greater risk of OHSS. This condition can cause severe abdominal pain and fluid accumulation in the abdomen and chest, requiring medical intervention.
  2. Increased Medication Use: The use of higher doses of fertility medications in Conventional IVF can lead to a greater risk of side effects, including mood swings, bloating, and discomfort.
  3. Multiple Pregnancies: Conventional IVF’s higher embryo yield increases the risk of multiple pregnancies, which can be associated with complications and higher medical costs.
  4. Financial Considerations: The cost of Conventional IVF, which includes more medications and monitoring, can be significantly higher than Mini IVF. Financial considerations and insurance coverage may impact a patient’s decision.

 

Success Rate of Mini IVF in India

The success rate of Mini IVF in India can vary depending on several factors, including the patient’s age, ovarian reserve, and overall health. However, on average, the success rate of Mini IVF tends to be slightly lower compared to Conventional IVF.

In India, Mini IVF is often recommended for patients with specific needs, such as those with diminished ovarian reserve or those at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). While it may have a lower success rate, it can still offer a viable option for individuals and couples seeking fertility treatment with reduced medication and fewer side effects.

The success rate of Mini IVF is influenced by factors like the number and quality of eggs retrieved, the age of the patient, and the expertise of the fertility clinic. Younger patients with better ovarian reserves may have higher success rates with Mini IVF compared to older patients with more significant fertility challenges.

 

Success Rate of Conventional IVF in India

Conventional IVF typically boasts higher success rates in India due to the larger number of eggs produced and the broader range of patients it can accommodate. The success rate for Conventional IVF in India can vary widely but tends to be relatively higher, especially for younger patients with good ovarian reserves.

Factors influencing the success rate of Conventional IVF include the number of eggs retrieved, embryo quality, age, and the experience of the fertility clinic. Patients undergoing Conventional IVF may have a better chance of success, particularly if multiple high-quality embryos are available for transfer.

It’s worth noting that advances in assisted reproductive technology, such as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), have further improved success rates in Conventional IVF by allowing for the selection of genetically healthy embryos.

 

Cost of Mini IVF in India

The cost of Mini IVF in India is typically lower than that of Conventional IVF. This cost advantage arises from the reduced use of fertility medications and a less intensive treatment process. However, the exact cost can vary depending on several factors, including the city or region in India where the treatment is sought, the fertility clinic’s reputation, and any additional services required.

On average, the cost of Mini IVF in India can range from INR 80,000 to INR 2,00,000 (approximately $1,100 to $2,700 USD) per cycle. It’s essential to factor in the costs associated with initial consultations, monitoring, medications, and egg retrieval and embryo transfer procedures. Additional expenses may include embryo freezing and storage fees if needed.

Patients should also inquire about any potential hidden costs and consider the overall financial burden when choosing Mini IVF as a treatment option.

 

Cost of Conventional IVF in India

Conventional IVF in India is relatively more expensive than Mini IVF due to the higher doses of fertility medications required and the more extensive monitoring and laboratory work involved. The cost can vary significantly depending on the location and clinic, with renowned clinics in major cities typically charging higher fees.

On average, the cost of Conventional IVF in India ranges from INR 1,00,000 to INR 2,50,000 (approximately $1,350 to $3,400 USD) per cycle. This cost includes consultation fees, medications, monitoring, egg retrieval, embryo culture, and embryo transfer. Additional expenses may be incurred for services such as ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) or PGT.

In conclusion, Mini IVF and Conventional IVF are two distinct approaches to assisted reproduction, each catering to specific patient profiles and preferences. The choice between them depends on factors such as ovarian reserve, risk factors, and previous experiences. Both procedures share the ultimate goal of helping individuals and couples achieve their dream of parenthood, offering hope and possibilities in the face of infertility.

 

F.A.Q

Q: Is Mini IVF better than regular IVF?

A: Whether Mini IVF is better than Conventional IVF depends on individual circumstances. Mini IVF uses lower doses of fertility medications and is suitable for certain patients, such as those with low ovarian reserves or a preference for a milder approach. Conventional IVF, with its higher medication doses, may be more appropriate for younger patients with good ovarian reserves or specific fertility challenges. The choice should be made in consultation with a fertility specialist.

Q: Is Mini IVF more successful?

A: Generally, Conventional IVF has higher success rates compared to Mini IVF. Conventional IVF produces more eggs and embryos, increasing the chances of successful fertilization and embryo selection. However, Mini IVF can still be successful for specific patient profiles and preferences, such as those with diminished ovarian reserve or a desire for a gentler treatment.

Q: Who benefits from Mini IVF?

A: Mini IVF is beneficial for individuals or couples facing certain situations, including those with low ovarian reserve, a higher risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), or a preference for reduced medication use. It may also be suitable for those who have had multiple unsuccessful Conventional IVF cycles. Consultation with a fertility specialist can determine if Mini IVF is the right option.

Q: Which type of IVF is best?

A: The choice between Mini IVF and Conventional IVF depends on the patient’s specific needs and circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Conventional IVF is generally more successful due to the higher number of eggs produced, but it may not be suitable for everyone. The best type of IVF is determined through discussions with a fertility expert who considers factors such as age, ovarian reserve, and previous treatment history.

Q: What age is Mini IVF for?

A: Mini IVF can be considered for individuals of various ages, but it is often recommended for older women with diminished ovarian reserve or those at risk of OHSS. However, it can be used for younger patients as well, especially if they prefer a less aggressive approach to fertility treatment.

Q: How many eggs are expected with Mini IVF?

A: In a Mini IVF cycle, the number of eggs produced is typically lower compared to Conventional IVF. On average, Mini IVF may yield around 1 to 5 eggs, depending on the individual’s response to the milder ovarian stimulation. The lower egg yield is a deliberate aspect of Mini IVF.

Q: How many injections for Mini IVF?

A: The number of injections required for Mini IVF varies based on the specific treatment plan and the patient’s response to ovarian stimulation. However, Mini IVF generally involves fewer injections compared to Conventional IVF because of the reduced medication dosage. Patients can expect to take daily or intermittent injections for a shorter duration.

Q: Can you have twins with Mini IVF?

A: While Mini IVF reduces the risk of multiple pregnancies compared to Conventional IVF, it is still possible to have twins with Mini IVF if multiple embryos are transferred and successfully implant in the uterus. The likelihood of twins or other multiple pregnancies can be discussed with the fertility specialist and controlled by the number of embryos transferred.

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    Dr Mona Dahiya

    Dr Mona Dahiya

    IVF Specialist & Consultant

    Dr Mona Dahiya has performed over 5,000+ IVF cycles and is considered a global expert in IVF, ICSI, IUI and male fertility treatment. She is an eminent writer on Infertility Treatment and has over 100 Publications in both International and National Journals. Dr Mona Dahiya has immensely contributed to the field of infertility through her Research and articles.

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