While in vitro fertilization (IVF) continues to help thousands of women achieve pregnancy when they are struggling with infertility problems, the entire process can be relatively expensive and it can take several treatments to be successful. Young women under the age of 30 or 35 with large number of eggs may be better suited for a procedure known as in vitro maturation (IVM). This procedure offers a safer and even more effective alternative to conventional IVF treatments, and is readily available at an increasing number of fertility clinics. Here’s a close look at how in vitro maturation works, and who benefits most from IVM treatment:
How In Vitro Maturation is Performed
In order for the in vitro maturation process to work, the fertility specialist must extract immature eggs and hold them in an laboratory for about 24 to 48 hours. The woman undergoes a transvaginal ultrasound between day 3 and day 5 of her menstrual cycle and an hCG injection is administered shortly after to prepare the egg for fertilization. The eggs are retrieved approximately 36 hours later and palced on a petri dish for incubation.
After the eggs have undergone the maturation process, they are injected with sperm using the intracytoplasmic spermi injection (ICSI) technique. This process maximizes the rate of fertilization and reduces the chance of fertilization failure. The female is also given hormones such as estrogen and progesterone to prepare the uterine lining for the fertilization process. Once this process is complete, a few embryos are selected for the embryo transfer process.
Best Candidates for In Vitro Maturation
Women who are sensitive to the effects of certain types of fertility medications are typically good candidates for in vitro maturation. Other candidates for in vitro maturation include:
Women with PCOS
Women with normal menstrual cycles that need a cheaper alternative to IVF treatments
Women who are about to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy
Women who have an antral follicle count of 10 or more
Women who have undergone the standard IVF procedure but want to salvage immature eggs
Women who have experienced significant side effects from fertility injections
Women who are younger than 35 years of age
Success Rates with IVM Treatments
Success rates with IVM treatments vary depending on the age of the woman, her general health and the timing of the procedure. Many fertility clinics offer this procedure as a cost-effective and safe alternative to IVF treatments, fertility specialists and scientists report about a 30 percent success rate for all treatments performed worldwide.
IVM was developed in Australia and South Korea in the early 1990s and has since become available at fertility clinics throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Innovative methods and advanced technologies have helped to improve success rates and IVM has become an attractive option for women who have been unsuccessful with achieving pregnancy naturally or with other fertility treatments.
Learn more about fertility treatments in our information guide, or consult with a fertility specialist in your area to find out if you may be a good candidate for the IVM treatment.