I know, just like you, I too thought mini-IVF is some kind of dwarfed version of the otherwise painstakingly long procedure, with everything reduced in length and magnitude to help make things easier.
Well, to an extent, some of that IS true for mini-IVF, It basically involves lesser number of fertility drugs for ovarian stimulation, hence the name.
Unlike the conventional IVF procedure that uses a wide range of fertility medications to encourage increased egg production in a woman's ovaries, mini-IVF uses fewer drugs to stimulate the ovaries, hence producing a smaller number of eggs.
You see, a woman typically produces only a single mature egg every cycle. With IVF, both regular and mini, the aim is for the ovaries to produce a larger amount of eggs and thereby increasing the likelihood of at least one of them to be fertilized by the sperm.
Procedurally there is little difference between standard and mini IVF, however there are a few consideration important to factor in if you are debating on which one to choose;
1. Lesser chances of OHSS The main reason why some people go for mini-IVF is because fewer injectable hormone medications means lower chances of suffering from Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or OHSS. OHSS is an extreme reaction to ovarian stimulation hormone injections resulting in the following symptoms ranging from mild to moderate, depending on the individual's severity of response:
2. More affordable
Not surprisingly, the lower the number of hormone injections, the cheaper the procedure is. With fewer visits and fewer medication intake, mini-IVF is definitely much more affordable than conventional IVF. However, also bear in mind that fewer mature eggs also means fewer resulting embryos.
3. Great for women with a diminished ovarian reserve
They say a woman is born with the most number of eggs at birth and every single month thereafter, the number of eggs only reduce in quantity. For women of geriatric age, who happen to have an inadequate ovarian reserve (meaning, low quantity of eggs) mini-IVF could actually be a great alternative as regular IVF won't be able to produce a larger amount of eggs anyway.
4. Helps preserve fertility for cancer patients
Although the same can be said about conventional IVF however, standard IVF is normally chosen as an option if you are unable to have kids because of any complications with your fertility. However, for cancer patients, cancer treatment can
be a huge blow to their fertility, regardless of whether they were reproductively healthy before or not. So if you're going for cancer treatment, it's perhaps a good idea to pick mini-IVF just so you can preserve some of your mature eggs for having kids later on. Plus, regular IVF medications can further aggravate your illness.
Having said that, of course the best course of action for you is one that is prescribed and advised by your OB/GYN and fertility team, according to your own unique condition and prior medical history.