Although there are many paths to reproductive success, IVF is usually the fastest road to success. However, not all patients are thrilled about taking that road as the use of stimulation drugs can be intimidating to say the least. Our extensive experience in Natural Cycle IVF has been so encouraging that it makes one reassess how to counsel patients who are considering other options such as clomid/IUI or gonadotropin/IUI treatment cycles. Although our initial inclination was to encourage Natural Cycle IVF mainly in patients < 35 years old with well-defined fertility issues, our results suggest that success can be obtained in older patients and in those with unexplained infertility. Clearly pregnancy rates will be higher in patients < 40 years old but our current record holder was 47 years old with 4 failed stimulated cycle IVF attempts prior to achieving an ongoing pregnancy with Natural Cycle IVF. Go figure.
I spent over an hour on the phone with a reporter from NPR recently. She was very interested in Natural Cycle IVF and was considering running a piece on the topic. However, after speaking with some other local REs who were totally dismissive of Natural Cycle IVF she stopped answering my emails. Sad but true....good news doesn't sell papers or get listeners to stick with one radio station....and we believe that Natural Cycle IVF is very good news indeed!
So although the smug answer to the Question of the Day is that everyone needs IVF...they just don't know it yet.....here is a more balanced view.
47. How do I know if I need IVF?
Not all patients need IVF or are good candidates for IVF. Thus the answer to this question can be determined only after you undergo a comprehensive infertility evaluation by your reproductive endocrinologist. Nevertheless, some situations clearly require the use of IVF. For example, women with absent or severely damaged fallopian tubes should be treated immediately with IVF. Likewise, IVF should be performed first if the male partner has very poor sperm quality. For other patients, the use of IVF may be less clear-cut, especially given that many different treatment options exist. In such cases, the doctor should discuss with the couple the pros and cons of each option, and then all parties should jointly decide on a treatment plan.