Getting Eggs Without Stimulating the Ovaries

Hormone stimulation is one of the cornerstones of modern IVF, but for women with polycystic ovaries or polycystic ovarian syndrome who have many tiny follicles in their ovaries, the stimulation protocol can be difficult to manage and they risk over-responding to the drugs and developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) (see Chapter 10). Embryologists are currently perfecting a technique known as in-vitro maturation (IVM) to allow such women to have IVF without hormone stimulation. Using IVM, the doctor retrieves immature eggs from tiny follicles in the woman's ovaries and then the embryologist places these eggs in a special culture medium for a few days to allow them to mature before introducing them to the partner's sperm. So, no need for injections and no risk of OHSS — sounds perfect.

At this stage, only a few clinics have the know-how to perform IVM and work still needs to be done to increase the procedure's success rate. But as the technique is refined and results improve, the use of IVM for certain groups of patients is likely to become more widespread in the coming years. About 1,000 babies have been born from IVM to date and all the signs point to them being as healthy as other children.

Although some predict that IVM will become the IVF treatment of choice in the future, for women who don't have a large number of tiny follicles in their ovaries, hormone stimulation is likely to continue to be their best bet to get several eggs for IVF.

100 Pregnancy Tips

100 Pregnancy Tips

Prior to planning pregnancy, you should learn more about the things involved in getting pregnant. It involves carrying a baby inside you for nine months, caring for a child for a number of years, and many more. Consider these things, so that you can properly assess if you are ready for pregnancy. Get all these very important tips about pregnancy that you need to know.

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