Fertility Drugs vs. All Natural IVF Cycles

Dr. Randy Morris

Fertility Drugs vs. All Natural IVF Cycles

Dr. Randy Morris

Fertility drugs are usually used during IVF, but sometimes doctors may recommend natural cycles in a limited number of situations. In most cases, the use of fertility medication is the best choice. Below, we will take a look at how cycles proceed in each of these situations.

About Fertility Drugs

Injectable gonadotropins, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FHS) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are commonly used during IVF cycles to stimulate the woman's ovaries to produce more egg follicles than usual. During a typical cycle, an ovary may produce 1-2 egg follicles (if the woman is ovulating at all). During a stimulated cycle, the woman may produce 4 or more eggs. This means that more embryos can be created, and there is a greater chance that at least one of the embryos will be suitable for transfer.

Risks and Benefits of Fertility Drugs

There is some risk that fertility medications will cause side effects. Most side effects are relatively mild and resolve on their own once the medication is discontinued. Common side effects include issues like bloating and breast tenderness. Rarely, women may develop a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), in which the ovaries become filled with fluid. In some cases, OHSS can lead to serious complications.

About All Natural Cycles

Rarely, a woman may need to go through IVF even though she regularly ovulates and has a relatively high chance of getting pregnant. In such cases, it may be possible to perform an all natural IVF cycle, without using fertility drugs. This may be done if the woman has a high risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, ovulates on a regular basis, and is young and expected to respond well to the procedure. However, in most cases fertility medications are recommended because they so drastically improve the chances of success.

Risks and Benefits of All Natural Cycles

As with any procedure, there are risks and benefits to an all natural IVF cycle. The biggest downside is that the chances of success are much lower than with stimulated IVF cycles. In addition, because the woman's cycle is not being controlled with fertility drugs, it is harder to plan for each step of the cycle, which is more inconvenient for both the woman and the office. Between these two factors, it is possible that more treatment cycles will be necessary than would otherwise be the case.However, when fertility drugs are not used, women do not face the risk of side effects associated with those drugs.

There is still a risk of side effects from the egg retrieval and embryo transfer procedures, though those risks are small. In most cases, the use of fertility drugs, even on a limited basis, is the best course of action. Dr. Randy Morris would be happy to meet with you about whether IVF is right for you. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or call IVF1 at (630) 357-6540.