In mini-IVF, like in conventional IVF, fertility drugs are used for ovarian stimulation, but at a much lower dose. As a result, more than one egg is produced in a cycle (about 3-6 eggs), but not as many with full IVF (normally around 8-12 eggs).
Other than the fertility medication, mini-IVF is the same as the conventional IVF. The eggs are collected, mixed with sperm in a dish, and placed in an incubator for fertilization. Depending on the number of fertilized eggs, up to three (in some cases) of the best quality early embryos are selected and transferred back in the womb.
Mini-IVF may be the option for women that have a low ovarian reserve (low capacity of producing eggs), and because of that had a previous unsuccessful attempt with conventional IVF (higher doses of fertility drugs did not result in many more eggs being produced after a cycle). But also, it may be the option for women that have a good ovarian reserve, but do not want to freeze their extra eggs.
In addition, mini-IVF may be more suited to women that are at risk of developing Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), due to sensitivity of the injectable hormones of the full-cycle IVF.
Mini-IVF is a less risky and costly procedure compared to IVF, as it involves lower doses of drugs. It also requires fewer visits in our AAFC facilities than a conventional IVF. If you considering a mini-IVF, discuss with one of our consultants, who will assess whether your individual circumstances qualify for this type of Assisted Reproductive Technique (ART).
A mini-IVF cycle involves exactly the same steps as a conventional IVF with the only difference being the dosage of the fertility drugs for ovarian stimulation. We monitor production of the eggs and progression of their maturation stage with ultrasound transvaginal scans and through blood testing.
Mini ovarian stimulation: Taking advantage of your natural Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) elevation, and using low doses of orally-received hormone pills, a small number of good quality eggs can be produced. This strategy may be implemented by one low-dose injection of gonadotropin, while the final maturation stage of your eggs, as in conventional IVF, is triggered with a human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection. Our aim is to obtain 3-6 eggs.
For completion of this stage of mini-IVF, 2-3 visits may be required to our facilities in AAFC.
The rest of the steps, egg collection, sperm collection, fertilization, embryo transfer, first pregnancy test and ultrasound scan are performed exactly the same as in the traditional IVF.
With mini-IVF, as fewer eggs are available, the chances of conceiving and having a baby can be lower than with conventional IVF.
However, if 2-3 of your eggs become fertilized and progress in good quality embryos that are transferred to your womb, then the success rate of a mini-IVF will not be different to the conventional IVF. The only difference, in this case, is that you may not have a surplus of eggs that can be frozen for later use.
If you would like to be considered for a mini-IVF, please discuss it with one of our specialist doctors, who can consult you further based on your individual circumstances.