In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an infertility treatment used for blocked tubes or infertility not responding to other treatments. At Olympia Fertility, we have accumulated a solid track record of success with this technique. We have kept IVF financially accessible to our patients. Natural cycle IVF gives lower pregnancy rates because it generates fewer healthy embryos than stimulated cycle IVF.
Over the years, various gonadotropin-stimulated protocols have been utilized. At present, we are encouraging "Long Protocols" which start with birth control pills and Lupron in the cycle preceding the month of in vitro fertilization. We want to limit the use of HMG (human menopausal gonadotropin) to two ampules per day. The remainder of gonadotropin hormone will be FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). Our current trend is toward minimally stimulated cycles that result in 2 to 10 eggs. These should give higher per cycle pregnancy rates. If excess eggs are produced, these embryos can be frozen.
Currently, we are culturing embryos to the blastocyst stage, with transfer back into the uterus of only two blastocysts for women 37 years of age or younger. Extra embryos are frozen. After embryo transfer, we recommend bed rest in our office for thirty minutes and one day of rest at home.
Natural Cycle IVF is restricted to patients 34 years old or younger, because the pregnancy rate with older patients is very low. Some will prefer Natural Cycle because it avoids ovary-stimulating drugs and virtually eliminates the risk of twins or multiples. An egg is retrieved in about 85% of cycle starts, but about 40% of embryos will die before forming a blastocyst. The implantation rate per blastocyst is about 40-50%. Natural Cycle can be inefficient of time, with the possibility of no embryo for transfer.