Comparing Conventional IVF to Natural Cycle IVF

More than 165,000 cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) were performed in 2012, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.  For couples dealing with infertility, IVF represents an opportunity to create life despite medical conditions preventing fertility.  However, conventional IVF is not for everyone.  Some couples prefer to choose natural cycle IVF for medical, religious, or personal reasons.

What is Natural Cycle IVF?Conventional IVF

Conventional IVF requires the administration of medications to stimulate the ovaries to make multiple eggs.  This allows fertility clinics in New York City to harvest several eggs per cycle.  In contrast, natural cycle IVF takes advantage of a woman’s natural menstrual cycle.  During a typical menstrual cycle, only one follicle develops.  New York fertility clinic doctors carefully monitor the follicle development, allowing them to retrieve the egg at the optimal time.

Benefits of Natural Cycle IVF Compared to Conventional IVF

Natural cycle IVF has emerged as a popular alternative to conventional IVF for a number of reasons:

  • Less medication use.  Fertility drugs sometimes lead to unwanted side effects, including headache, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, breast tenderness, or hot flashes may occur.

  • No risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.  Some women taking fertility drugs to increase egg production experience a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.  Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, pain in the area of the ovaries, dark urine, decreased urination, rapid weight gain, or shortness of breath.

  • Less monitoring.  Conventional IVF requires considerable monitoring through blood tests and ultrasounds.  Although there will still be some monitoring with natural cycle IVF, this may be ameliorated compared to conventional IVF.

  • No hyperstimulation of ovarian production.  Some individuals hold certain religious beliefs that prevent them from taking medications that produce excess eggs that may be discarded.  Natural cycle IVF uses only the body’s naturally produced eggs, making it a more acceptable choice for individuals with certain religious or ethical beliefs.

Drawbacks of Natural Cycle IVF

Although natural cycle IVF continues to grow in popularity at fertility clinic NYC, it does have some drawbacks compared to conventional IVF:

  • Lower success rate. Conventional IVF includes the retrieval of numerous eggs, increasing the likelihood of successful fertilization.  In contrast, each cycle of natural cycle IVF involves only one potential fertilization candidate.

  • Need for repeat cycles.  Because of the lower success rate of natural cycle IVF, many people must go through numerous cycles.  This takes an emotional, physical, and financial toll.

  • Unexpected ovulation.  Without fertility drugs, some women experience a surge in LH (a reproductive hormone) before the planned retrieval date.  Thus, natural cycle IVF may be preferred for those with highly regular menstrual cycles.