Expert Opinion: How Natural Cycle IVF Uses No Drugs To Induce Pregnancy

Natural Cycle IVF is In vitro fertilisation, but without using injections and stimulant medications. Know everything about it from an expert. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Jul 28, 2022Updated at: Jul 28, 2022
Expert Opinion: How Natural Cycle IVF Uses No Drugs To Induce Pregnancy

Natural Cycle IVF is a process where eggs are collected in accordance with your menstrual cycle; no injections or stimulant medications are used. The egg that your body naturally chooses to gather happens to be in tandem with your menstrual cycle. Our expert doctors employ cutting-edge ultrasound equipment during your treatment to track your cycle and examine the blood flow to the growing follicle to gauge its quality. Every woman who is still ovulating and wishes to skip stimulating IVF medicines or injections is a good candidate for Natural Cycle IVF. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Rita Bakshi, Founder, Risaa IVF, to know everything about Natural Cycle IVF.

Benefits of Natural Cycle IVF

  • Using few or no ovarian stimulants
  • Many people view as less stressful
  • Less expensive
  • Repeatable with consecutive cycles
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome is not a concern (OHSS)
  • Pregnancy rates over time may resemble those of one boosted IVF cycle 
natural cycle ivf

What distinguishes Natural IVF from Conventional IVF?

An ovarian follicle is where a single egg develops and matures during a typical monthly reproductive cycle. The mature egg is released and made ready for fertilisation when a woman's hormone levels reach a certain level. In an IVF cycle that is stimulated, a woman takes drugs for nine to twelve days that encourage both of her ovaries to develop several egg follicles. A doctor will keep an eye on the patient throughout this stimulation period with ultrasounds and blood tests to check the follicles' growth until they reach a particular size.

The eggs will subsequently be extracted from the follicles by a doctor during an anaesthetic-assisted egg retrieval process. After fertilisation, the embryos are grown in the lab where an embryologist will choose the best one(s) to return to the woman's uterus. Any top-notch embryos that are not transplanted can be stored in the freezer for later use.

Also read: What Are The Risks Of IVF Treatment? Here Are 6 Tips To Make The Right Decision

The cycle can only produce up to one mature egg at a time because natural cycle IVF does not employ drugs to stimulate the ovaries. In order to prevent the body from releasing (ovulating) the solitary ovarian follicle before it can be removed, patients are closely monitored using ultrasounds and blood tests to follow its progress.

The egg from the single follicle is then removed from the patient using a procedure similar to that used in a stimulated IVF cycle. In the event that the egg retrieval is successful, a lab attempt is made to fertilise the egg. If a healthy embryo forms, a doctor will return the uterus with it.

IVF with a natural cycle and IVF using traditional methods both follow very similar timelines and processes. The only difference is that in a natural IVF cycle, the patient does not take any drugs to induce the production of numerous eggs. Investigate statements thoroughly before deciding which course of therapy to take, especially if a facility boasts that a specific course of treatment is cheaper, less dangerous, and less stressful.

Who can opt for natural cycle IVF?

Natural cycle IVF can be opted by people who:

  • Are aged under 45 years
  • Experience consistent menstrual cycles
  • Hydrosalpinx free
  • Have no uterus related issues
  • Have no medical reasons to avoid it

Also read: Factors That Might Affect Your IVF Success Rate, Explains Doctor

How effective is IVF using a natural cycle?

But nearly everyone, including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), agrees that natural IVF also has less successful results. The likelihood of getting pregnant with natural cycle IVF is about 7–10% per cycle. The likelihood with conventional IVF is 20–40% every cycle.

An interesting alternative to traditional stimulated IVF cycles is natural cycle IVF (unstimulated IVF). Patients choose it because it is patient-friendly, low risk, and more affordable than stimulated IVF. Natural cycle IVF gives patients the IVF process with fewer drugs, which results in lower costs and fewer injections, as well as fewer side effects and office visits (all of which leads to less stress). The minimal dosage of medication consumed also results in no risk of hyperstimulation and less physical impact on the body. Additionally, IVF using a natural cycle reduces the creation of extra embryos and prevents multiple pregnancies.

All image credits: Frrepik