We pioneered mild stimulation IVF and ICSI with lighter, shorter and much less stressful hormone treatments delivering optimal pregnancy rates.
For many years, IVF specialists designed their hormonal treatments to allow women to produce as many oocytes as possible in a single treatment cycle. This compensated for inefficiencies in the laboratory phase of treatment when fertilisation rates and the ability for embryologists to culture healthy embryos was limited.
This ’big-bang’ approach to IVF led to long, complex and high dose hormone stimulation regimes which were sometimes risky to the patient's health and probably not very good for either the embryos or the lining of the womb in which the embryos must implant. Many women found the treatment so burdensome that they gave up if a cycle failed rather than face another treatment.
In the late 1990s, a number of leaders in the field, including Professor Macklon, set about developing milder treatment protocols which would be less tough on women, shorter, safer, and produce better quality embryos. This progress was made possible by better culturing of the embryos by embryologists together with the availability of new drugs such as GnRH antagonists.
Working with Professor Bart Fauser in Rotterdam and Utrecht, Professor Macklon led a group of researchers who developed and tested this new milder approach. Over the years, our studies have shown that milder stimulation offers a number of advantages.
We and many other groups over the world have therefore incorporated this approach into how we provide IVF treatment in our centre.
With mild IVF ICSI you are either given a lower dose of fertility drugs and /or you are given the fertility drugs over a shorter period of time than with conventional in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
The fertility drugs taken do not suppress your natural cycle, unlike conventional IVF, shortening the length of drug treatment whilst avoiding menopausal side effects. Because lower doses of drugs are used, fewer eggs may be available for collection, but these are the best ones.
Mild IVF ICSI has been designed to reduce the burden of IVF. The benefits include:
• Fewer medications, less stress on your body.
• Shorter length of drug treatment.
• Natural cycle is not suppressed, avoiding menopausal side effects.
• Safer - reduces the risks and side effects associated with conventional IVF, including the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).
• Less expensive - high doses of costly medications are not required.
• Our programme aims to get the optimal number of eggs to provide embryos of good quality.
• Because fewer fertility drugs are used, if treatment is unsuccessful, you may not have to wait as long to undergo further treatment.
• Any embryos of suitable quality not used in treatment can be frozen and stored for future use.
Your Consultant will discuss with you the treatment options suitable for you and develop a personal conception plan with you that will give you the best chance of achieving a healthy pregnancy.