While the Mini IVF can save significantly on medication cost compared to traditional IVF, it still incurs the same cost associated with growing embryos in the laboratory environment.
Introducing the INVOCELL® Device- A Natural Way To Grow Embryos
A new technology now offers women the opportunity to carry their own developing embryos within their body to mimic conditions provided by the fallopian tubes, where fertilization and embryo development normally take place.
The INVOCELL® device is FDA-approved to help women carry their own embryos in the vagina during the first few days of embryo life. It is a tubular shell that contains an inner chamber to house the eggs and sperm, as well as a special media that supplies all the necessary nutrients and factors for early embryo development.
The process begins with collecting eggs that were produced by the mild stimulation of the Mini IVF protocol. Sperm and eggs are then placed with culture media in the INVOCELL® and are tightly sealed before being placed in the vagina where it is secured by a diaphragm for the next several days. After the required amount of time for the incubation, the embryos are recovered from the device and the best embryo is transferred to the uterus.
Rather than laboratory conditions, this device mimics nature’s way of incubating embryos by housing them literally inside the woman’s body during their initial development. The conditions of the INVOCELL® are meant to be very similar to those found in the fallopian tubes, which act as a natural incubator for the embryo as it travels to the uterus.
Intravaginal IVF was introduced during the 1980s as a less expensive alternative to traditional IVF but could not match the success rates of traditional IVF due to certain technological limitations.However, with the introduction of an improved culturing device such as the INVOCELL® and much better culture media, intravaginal IVF is now a viable option for many women especially those with low ovarian reserve.
IVF using INVOCELL® is new but the preliminary studies have shown that the rates of pregnancy achieved are equivalent to those of conventional IVF procedures.
Maximizing Success With Mini IVF
In addition to the INVOCELL® we also employ other strategies to optimize your chances of success with Mini IVF including:
Selecting the best sperm using either microfluidics or PICSI technology.
Injecting sperm into eggs (ICSI) to increase chance of fertilization.
Culturing to blastocyst stageto help with selecting the best embryo(s) for future transfer.
Fast freezing of embryos by the vitrification method for later transfer in a thaw cycle when the uterine lining will be more receptive.
In summary, for most patients undergoing IVF treatment the standard approach has been to use high doses of ovarian stimulation medications to improve chances of pregnancy. However, for women with low ovarian reserve, a better option might be to use the gentler stimulation of the Mini IVF protocol to save embryos for future transfer.
By combining the INVOCELL® technology with the Mini IVF program we can maximize the savings on medication cost and laboratory cost for our patients. With the additional ability to select the optimal sperm and to safely freeze embryos for future transfer, our Mini IVF program can offer you a cost effective way to achieve pregnancy if you have low egg reserve.