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Minimal-Stimulation IVF Could Be a Less Expensive, Less Demanding Alternative Fertility Treatment

March 14, 2014 – Experts Down The Hall – Ronald Feinberg

Source: The Wall Street Journal – March 11, 2014

Some fertility centers are offering minimal-stimulation in vitro fertilization (IVF), also called “minimal-stimulation IVF“, as a less expensive, less physically demanding, and safer alternative to traditional IVF.

Minimal-stimulation IVF requires less medication, fewer doctor visits and fewer monitoring tests compared to a traditional IVF cycle, ultimately making the cost of IVF more affordable. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART), the organization responsible for collecting and publishing results from fertility centers across the US, recently announced it would include mini-stim IVF results in their 2014 report, to be released in 2016.

Minimal-stimulation IVF is a less expensive, less physically demanding, and safer alternative to traditional IVF.

However, minimal-stimulation IVF may not be for everyone. SART notes success rates for some patients may be lower than traditional IVF if fewer eggs are obtained. But, for women who have health or financial reasons preventing them from seeking traditional IVF, minimal-stimulation IVF can be a practical option to help them build a family.

From Our Expert, Dr. Ronald Feinberg

“RAD’s mini-stim pilot program is off to a great start.”

At RAD, we are always looking to customize treatments to help our patients achieve success in an affordable and timely way. Our minimal-stimulation IVF pilot program, called Step-It-Up IVF™, was launched in 2013 and we recently compiled results for the first 21 women in the program. Thus far, 15 of 21 (71%) achieved a clinical pregnancy and 13 of 21 (62%) women have a healthy ongoing or delivered pregnancy. Nine of the 21 women continue in treatment as part of the pilot program with frozen embryos or through a second minimal-stimulation approach. Our Step-It-Up IVF™ patients’ pregnancy rates are highly competitive with much more costly traditional IVF (as reported annually by SART), and are far superior to multiple attempts of ovulation induction/intrauterine insemination (OI/IUI).

The benefits of Step-It-Up IVF™ are clear: great results for our patients at a much lower cost than traditional IVF, and with a much better chance of a safe pregnancy compared to OI/IUI. Single embryo transfer, performed 90% to 95% of the time, virtually eliminates the likelihood of twin or triplet births, which are commonly seen with OI/IUI. A significant fringe benefit for women in our Step-It-Up IVF™ program is the ability to freeze spare blastocysts for additional attempts for current or future pregnancies. All 21 patients in the pilot program have had embryos cryopreserved. Planning ahead for future pregnancies with embryos frozen at our patients’ current age is not an option with OI/IUI.

The IVF physician and clinician team at RAD selected candidates for the Step-It-Up IVF™ pilot program based on several favorable clinical factors, including age under 33, good ovarian function, and overall diagnosis. All 21 women were ‘self-pay’, having no insurance coverage for IVF, and desired optimal affordability.

Based on our pilot program’s results, we have now started offering Step-It-Up™ IVF on a wider basis to women under age 35 with a good prognosis. Our goal with Step-It-Up™ IVF is to provide an 80% or higher cumulative pregnancy rate with just one or two fresh cycles. When combined with our IVF Peace of Mind™ 2nd Cycle Option and fresh or frozen single embryo transfer, we believe RAD has established the safest and most affordable IVF care in the U.S.

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