IVF is one of the most widely used assisted reproductive techniques today. It has a remarkable success rate and has enabled thousands of childless couples experience parental bliss. But unfortunately, the treatment is not suitable for some women. Does that close all the doors for such women? Of course not, medical science has come up with alternative infertility treatments to give them a chance too.

One of such treatments is In Vitro Maturation (IVM), a relatively new technique which aids women who cannot avail IVF. As the name suggests, In Vitro Maturation refers to maturation of oocytes in the laboratory. This sounds similar to IVF treatment but there are differences. A comparison between the two techniques can give a fair idea about their technicalities and suitability for individual cases.

IVF or IVM: A Comparison

During a typical IVF cycle, the woman is subjected to hormonal therapy for stimulating her ovaries to produce multiple oocytes. The eggs are then allowed to mature inside her body and harvested at the time of ovulation. These harvested eggs are then retrieved and fertilized with sperms in the laboratory. The healthiest of the lab cultured embryo are then transferred in her uterus for implantation to take place.

On the other hand, IVM involves harvesting of eggs that have not attained maturity yet. Rather, they are retrieved prior to ovulation and allowed to mature in the lab. These are provided favorable conditions such as an optimal temperature and culture medium to grow. Once these eggs are mature enough, they are fertilized using sperms. It is done either by using IVF or ICSI technique. The remaining process is very similar to IVF, with the ready embryo(s) being transferred to the uterus.

Both IVF and IVM are based on the same principle, that of lab culture. Also, these can be used for conceiving immediately as well as preserving the long term fertility of the woman. Embryo cryopreservation is the option with IVF, while egg freezing comes up as one with IVM. The difference between the two is that IVF involves the culture of embryos while IVM encompasses culture of the egg. Additionally, an IVF protocol includes administration of fertility medication, which is not done in the latter. IVM is an effective treatment option for women who cannot undergo IVF due to one reason or the other.

When is IVM considered as a better option for a patient?

During IVF, the patient is given high doses of fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries and egg maturation process. But some women may not be tolerant to these drugs as they are at high risk of developing Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). Women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are also likely to come across complications due to hormonal therapy. In such cases, IVM emerges as a better option because it involves minimal stimulation for completing the cycle.

IVM involves stimulation of ovaries and it ends just here, with fewer fertility drugs involved. Further, no more hormones are to be administered to speed up egg maturity. Rather, these are harvested during early developmental stage, while still immature. This minimizes the complications and side effects that hormonal medications are so notorious for. Therefore, women who cannot opt for IVF for the fear of such complications have a new ray of hope in the form of the innovative IVM treatment.

The advantages of opting for IVM do not end here. In comparison to IVF treatment, this one is far less complicated and more cost-effective. The reason is that it required fewer clinic visits, drugs and diagnostic tests. At the same time, its success rate is comparable with that of IVF. Additionally, an IVM cycle is shorter as compared to an IVF cycle, which means that the patient can become pregnant sooner. Although the proven benefits of IVM are many, the technique is still in evolutionary stages. Whether or not a patient is the right candidate for IVM, the decision has to be taken in consultation with an expert fertility specialist.

Gaudium IVF is one of the top IVF clinics in Delhi where patients are offered advanced infertility treatment and gynecological care at reasonable costs. The clinic has a team of expert specialists which offers counseling and support for patients so that they can have healthy and safe pregnancy.

Visit here for free second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, the leading infertility specialist in Delhi.