Dr. Ahlering Featured On FoxNews.Com: Is Mini IVF The Next Breakthrough?

I appreciated the author, Julie Relevant, writing the article “ Mini IVF: The next breakthrough in fertility treatment ” for FoxNews.com. The article reviews whether or not Mini IVF is a breakthrough therapy for patients needing IVF and takes a look at a patient’s success while including expert input, including myself, on the overall procedure and its usefulness or lack there of. While this story includes a patient’s success story utilizing Mini-IVF, I have seen and worked with MANY patients that have previously failed the mini-IVF process and often spend as much money doing that particular process at other fertility centers as they do a traditional IVF procedure at MCRM Fertility.

That said, the idea in the context of IVF is to always use the lowest amount of medications to provide the optimal probability of pregnancy for any patient’s given situation. Thus, each patient’s situation must be ascertained, assessed and then a protocol designed FOR HER, specifically. Individualized protocols are important and dosing of medications should be based upon the patient’s individual potential response, primarily.

Obviously, we do see patients at MCRM Fertility that are interested in mini-IVF and often ask me about it and certainly we do mini-IVF type (minimal stimulation) protocols. But, once patients fully understand the pros and cons versus traditional type medication protocols, almost invariably they will opt against it. I think this is the real problem that Dr. Gleicher is trying to convey in this article. The idea that Dr. Gleicher is trying to state is that more often than not, due to questionable practices at some centers and by some physicians, the pros and cons of traditional IVF versus mini-IVF are not openly discussed and thus the patient cannot make a truly informed decision about which may be best for that particular couple. Unquestionably, mini-IVF costs should be significantly lower per cycle than traditional IVF. However, again, I often see that costs for so called “mini” protocols; while saving a few dollars on medications, indeed costs MORE overall. The term “mini” is supposed to convey the idea that:

  1. There is less medication used.
  2. There is lower cost for the process versus traditional IVF.

If patient’s choose to accept the lower probability of pregnancy, then they should understand that and in providing such corner cutting protocols, one should also expect a lower cost not just on medications but on the entire cycle as well.

So, I think couples should be aware of these things and be really involved in understanding the various protocols, the differences, pros and cons and ultimately they will be able to make a choice for themselves. In my own experience, patients almost always will accept a slight increase in cost and medications versus mini-IVF for the significantly higher probability of pregnancy. Again, MCRM Fertility is able to offer very high pregnancy rates at lower cost without corner cutting.

Peter Ahlering, M.D.