By Dr. DiMattina

Natural Cycle IVF allows patients who cannot afford stimulated IVF to undergo IVF in a simplified way.

The NIH and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine conducted a seminar in September 2016 to “improve access in Reproductive Care”. It is estimated that 24% of infertile couples in the United States have access to all the care they need to have a live-born baby. Natural Cycle IVF (NCIVF) is an option that improves access and provides reasonable pregnancy rates for many patients. NCIVF allows patients who cannot afford stimulated IVF to undergo IVF in a simplified way. Stimulated IVF is more expensive and the drugs alone can cost 6-10 thousand dollars per treatment cycle. The total cost for a stimulated IVF cycle with drugs may exceed 20 thousand dollars. At Dominion Fertility, our NCIVF program costs less than $6,000 per completed cycle and it is pro rated if the patient does not get an egg or embryo transfer.

In some patients Natural Cycle IVF is more effective than Stimulated IVF

NCIVF is effective. Our data shows that for patients under the age of 35 years old, their chances for pregnancy are similar to those patients undergoing stimulated IVF per transfer of one embryo. (See, DiMattina et al, IVF Lite, 2014;1:81-7) In addition, we showed that the age related decline in fertility is reduced with NCIVF compared with stimulated cycle IVF. In other words, for patients over 35 years old, the pregnancy rates were superior with NCIVF compared with stimulated IVF. One of my successful NCIVF patients was 48 years old when she delivered a healthy baby after her first embryo transfer. So, NCIVF may be particularly useful in the older age patient. Patients with poor ovarian reserve may also do well with NCIVF. Such patients generally do not stimulate well and produce few eggs. NCIVF requires only one egg, which is produced in the patients’ “natural” cycle.

A couple with Male Factor Infertility successfully conceived using Natural Cycle IVF

Here is another example of how a couple with male factor infertility used NCIVF to their benefit. Jody, who lives in Baltimore, Maryland, came to see me in our Arlington, Virginia fertility center in May of 2016 at her age of 36 years old. Her husband was born with congenital absence of his vas deferens and was azospermic (no sperm present in his ejaculate). Their only option was, therefore, IVF. They could not afford stimulated IVF so they tried NCIVF. His sperm was obtained using testicular aspiration (TESA). In her first treatment using NCIVF, one egg was fertilized and a single embryo transferred resulting in a singleton intrauterine pregnancy. NCIVF allowed this couple to undergo a much less expensive IVF process and be successful.Access to Natural Cycle IVF care can help more couples with infertility.

NCIVF is certainly not a “cure all” for infertility, but it provides access to care when patients cannot afford the high costs of stimulated IVF. Dominion Fertility is the largest NCIVF center in the United States, but we believe in using an “individualized” approach for all of our patients. I believe the NIH conference should include NCIVF as a method to improve access to all infertile couples that are considering IVF. If you would like to learn more about how NCIVF can help you do not hesitate to contact Dominion Fertility for more information.